The US military has officially declared war on cell phones, launching a nationwide campaign to ban the devices as well as other electronic devices such as smart watches.
A spokesman for the US Air Force said the decision was made after “an extensive review of our capabilities and capabilities in order to determine the most cost-effective and effective method of dealing with the threat posed by the development and proliferation of cell phone and other wireless communications devices.”
The US military also banned the use of cell phones and other devices that can be used to transmit or receive signals, the Air Force announced in a statement on Monday.
It said the ban would also apply to other electronic communications devices such a smart watch, video game console, GPS, or other mobile devices that transmit signals in a way that “disrupts, impairs, or otherwise impairs the performance of an aircraft or other equipment”.
It said all devices, including smartphones, should be destroyed and their “radio frequency energy” destroyed.US Secretary of Defence James Mattis said the move was an “important milestone” in a “long-term effort” to combat terrorism and that it was “a good opportunity for the world to learn the lessons of our war in Afghanistan”.
It comes after the US military launched a nationwide crackdown on cellphone sales, banning sales of most handsets from retailers nationwide.
Some companies have since responded by selling cheaper devices at lower prices.
The US Federal Communications Commission has said it will consider legal action against retailers if they fail to comply with the ban.
US wireless carrier Verizon Wireless announced on Monday that it would ban all cellphones, smartwatches and other electronic communication devices from sale in the US.
The announcement comes amid rising concerns over the use and proliferation in the Middle East of wireless technology that is used to spy on and control mobile devices.