Tech Accessories

Navy Expands Uniform Policy to Permit Fitness Trackers and Smartwatches

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All Navy personnel gained official authorization to put on smartwatches and health trackers whereas in uniform. 

In a brand new attire- and grooming-centered coverage replace, the navy department prolonged its permissions to permit for the technology-based, biometric-capturing wearables. This commonplace is ready to enter impact 60 days after the doc’s publication.

“The coverage change acknowledges expertise generally utilized by sailors and society each day,” LT Travis Callaghan, a public affairs officer for the Chief of Naval Personnel, advised Nextgov on Thursday. “Additionally, inclusion of the health trackers helps our sailor’s self-health consciousness always.”

While in uniform, sailors and all different officers can put on one health tracker and one wristwatch or smartwatch concurrently—however every on a unique wrist, based on the replace. Bracelets can’t be worn on the identical arms as these units. Further, solely smartwatches and trackers in particular colours outlined within the coverage are permitted.

This nascent commonplace was listed because the final amongst a spread within the doc. Via it, Navy insiders are additionally now permitted to incorporate punctuation marks of their uniform title tags, title patches, or title tapes—if their authorized names include accents or in any other case. Women are granted permission to sport very-short-but-not-bald hairstyles, even people who present their scalps. And males can put on bald, flat topped, pale, and excessive and tight kinds—although bald with sideburns isn’t allowed. Updates related to sun shades, swimwear, earrings, ladies’s footwear and extra are additionally listed.

On Tuesday, Navy officers stated these shifts are the results of Fleet suggestions, uniform-focused working group discussions, listening periods, and instructions from management. The replace additionally aligns with the department’s variety fairness and inclusion initiatives and helps its Sailor 2025 goals to draw and retain robust expertise.

Callaghan confirmed that this transfer marks the primary time these units have ever been explicitly included into uniform requirements. “Although [they] have been being worn previous to asserting formal coverage, it was decided official steerage for put on with Navy uniforms is warranted,” he famous.

Smartwatches and health trackers are trendy, wrist-worn equipment that carry out a number of features and might connect with the web and GPS. Fitness trackers usually seize particulars round wearers’ actions and detect info relating to strolling steps, working distance, coronary heart price, sleep patterns and swimming laps. Smartwatches can even file info equivalent to coronary heart price and different very important indicators, however are extra like mini-computers with entry to cellular purposes. 

The Navy and different navy branches have thought of equipping personnel with such units to carry out a variety of makes use of. However, the wearables are designed to seize location knowledge and connect with the online, which presents some cybersecurity dangers. A pair years in the past, for example, an internet site and app used to gather athletic info with GPS knowledge, compiled customers’ knowledge in a heatmap and inadvertently disclosed location of a number of abroad navy bases. The Pentagon later banned all personnel from utilizing geolocation providers on their private and government-issued units in all “operational areas.”

In the coverage replace, Navy officers famous “smartwatches and health trackers are topic to relevant safety rules.”

“We can’t touch upon particular safety procedures and protocols, however our coverage ensures sailors know that safety rules take priority over this uniform coverage that enables [them] to put on any such expertise,” Callaghan stated. “It is vital to notice that now we have established the uniform coverage to make sure an expert and uniform look, whereas maximizing a sailor’s alternative to decide on wearable expertise as they see match.”

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