US Senators Are Being Issued Satellite Phones in Preparation for a ‘Disruptive Event’

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More than 50 senators have received satellite phones for emergency contact amid mounting worries about security hazards to members of Congress, according to persons familiar with the measures who spoke to CBS News. The gadgets are a part of a new set of security measures that the Senate Sergeant at Arms, who assumed command shortly after the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, is providing to senators.

According to the report, satellite phones were recently sent to U.S. Senate members so they could stay in touch in the event of a natural or “man-made” crisis.

All 100 senators were recently offered the phones, according to CBS News, which cited many people with knowledge of the situation.

Senate Sergeant at Arms Karen Gibson extended her invitation to more than 50 people.

The phones, according to Gibson, serve as a security precaution in the event that a crisis “takes out communications” in a portion of America. The satellite airtime necessary for using the phone devices will be covered by federal financing.

In the event of a “man-made” or “natural” calamity that paralyzes communication, satellite phones are a tool for reacting to and coordinating government services, according to a Department of Homeland Security advisory.

Senators who consented to bring the gadgets were advised to keep them with them when traveling.

Following the incursion at the U.S. Capitol in January 2021, CBS News reported that the availability of the equipment was one component of a larger attempt to improve security for members of Congress.

Gibson did suggest that in the event of a catastrophe, the gadgets would be useful.

“A Department of Homeland Security advisory said satellite phones are a tool for responding to and coordinating government services in the case of a ‘man-made’ or natural disaster that wipes out communication.”

It is unknown if Gibson or other federal government executives in high positions have cause to believe that such a thing will happen.

In her testimony before the Senate panel in April, Gibson reported, “Our team provided initial physical security enhancements for 31 offices and improved existing security for 52 others in 2022. Maintaining security systems in good working order is a priority, and to support this effort our team conducted over 622 service calls to maintain, repair, and or test and inspect state office physical security systems in 2022.”

Additionally, Senate administration have provided “stop the bleed” training to staff members to better prepare them to deal with medical emergencies and attack victims.

Prior to taking on her current position in March 2021, Gibson served more than three decades in the American military.

Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York announced her appointment in March 2021.

She served her country for 33 years, during which time she held a variety of prominent positions within the intelligence and cybersecurity communities.

Between the years 2017 and 2019, she was the director of Intelligence for the United States Central Command.


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