50 Senators Issued Emergency Satellite Phones to Prepare for ‘Disruptive Event’

More than 50 senators have been issued satellite phones for emergency communication in case of a “disruptive event,” CBS News is reporting.

In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee last month, Senate Sergeant at Arms Karen Gibson said satellite communication is being deployed “to ensure a redundant and secure means of communication during a disruptive event.”

Gibson said the phones are a security precaution in the case of an emergency that “takes out communications” in all or part of America. Federal funding will pay for Senator’s satellite airtime according to Gibson.

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

The DHS advisory said:

“Satellite mobile phones utilize satellites to communicate with landline, cellular, or other satellite phones in most regions of the world.

“Responders use satellite mobile phones for emergency communications in order to coordinate response and recovery efforts in remote areas, where there are no landline or cellular telephone networks, or in areas where existing networks are damaged or overloaded during a natural disaster (e.g., severe weather or earthquake) or a man-made incident, including potential chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive events.

“Satellite mobile phones can help maintain command and control functions during an emergency when existing communications networks are not functioning.

“These phones are designed to be relatively rugged and simple to operate but are more expensive than cell phones to buy and use.

“If cellular communications fail, the dual-mode phone automatically switches to satellite mode.

“Selection of a satellite mobile phone depends on a number of factors, including:

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“Geographic coverage requirements – global or regional.

“Economics – handset cost and operating charges (e.g., annual fees, in-network and out of network call charges).

“Capabilities – voice quality, e-mail, SMS, GPS, Internet, and phone tracking.

“Design and features – size, weight, display, antenna, ruggedness, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth,” DHS said.

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By David Hawkins

David Hawkins is a writer who specializes in political commentary and world affairs. He's been writing professionally since 2014.

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