Wed, Apr 25, 2012 - Page 3 News List

MND denies use of cellphones during war games exercise

CONSEQUENCES:An official said that although three soldiers seen in a breakfast shop were not involved in the war games, they would be punished

Staff writer, with CNA

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday denied reports that soldiers engaged in a recent military exercise had used cellphones to contact one another, in violation of the rules.

“That is absolutely not true,” Colonel Tung Yu-wen, a senior official with the ministry’s communications, electronics and information office, told a press conference.

He was responding to a remark by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Hsueh Ling (薛凌), who said on Monday she had been informed that some military personnel had to use mobile phones to obtain updates during last week’s Han Kuang exercises because the communications equipment at some units was not functioning well.

The use of cellphones during the war games, which simulated an attack by China, opened the risk of leaking classified information to China, Hsueh said.

However, the ministry denied the accusation, saying that military regulations bar personnel from carrying cellphones into warfare command centers and designated areas during a drill. In any event, the ministry’s communications systems are equipped with counter intervention devices to avoid information leaks and are constantly being upgraded, Tung said.

Military personnel participating in any drill usually contact each other through a certain communications system, he said.

Before the start of the Han Kuang series of exercises, the ministry made it clear to all participating units that they must abide by the security regulations pertaining to information and communications, ministry spokesman Colonel David Lo (羅紹和) said.

Meanwhile, media reports said three soldiers were seen eating at a breakfast shop in northern Taiwan during the exercises, an indication that they were not taking the drills seriously.

Lo said the ministry had investigated the matter and found that the trio were not involved in the exercises. They had been out buying military supplies and went to the breakfast shop after they were done, he said.

Nonetheless, the incident had harmed the ministry’s image and those responsible would be punished, he said.

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