Murphy's Law: September 15, 2002


The US Army ordered soldiers in Bosnia to stop using commercial FRS (Family Radio System) radios on patrols in Bosnia. Troops could either mail their radios home or turn them in to be held until their tour was over. It started innocently enough, with such radios available in PXs around the world for the usual purposes (fun, hunting, coordinating family members in theme parks, etc.). Then the radios were authorized for use around bases (including the camps in Bosnia) for convenience communications. Then the troops started using them on patrols, since radio contact with every member of the entire squad was a major advantage. There the problems started. Such radios are not secure and anyone who found or bought or stole one could listen in on US tactical communications, endangering the troops. Another problem is that each country assigns radio frequencies differently, and European countries had allocated the American FRS frequencies to other things. The soldiers would not have needed the radios if they had been given the Army's new squad radios. The problem is that these are just coming into the system and are only in the hands of regular units. Reserve and guard units, used for most of the Bosnia peacekeeping mission, did not have them. The Army is trying to reshuffle delivery schedules to make sure that the troops in Bosnia have them.--Stephen V Cole


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