Space Force drops annual fitness tests in favor of wearables

Not only does the US Space Force put the latest technology among the stars, but it also puts it on the bodies of its service personnel, with wearable fitness trackers that will track sleep habits, exercise habits, and more.

Fitness trackers are just one of the many steps the Space Force has taken recently to update U.S. militaryBut experts fear that the tracking tools could create security problems.

In a memo dated August 16, Space Force Chief Patricia Mulcahy announced that the force would soon abandon the annual fitness test used by other military branches.

Instead, the force will use “software and wearable technology solutions along with fitness/exercise regimens and preventative health practices to increase self-awareness, provide ongoing insight into health and holistic fitness and motivate members and their leaders to increase performance,” the note states.

All members of the Space Force, called Guardians, will serve as beta testers during a one-year evaluation period for the new technology.

The US Space Force will drop its annual fitness test and require its members to wear a fitness tool to help track overall health. The change raised concerns about security. Above, Senior Sergeant Roger Tupperman presents then-President Donald Trump with the official Space Force flag in the Oval Office of the White House on May 15, 2020.
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Military news site Task and Purpose reports that Guardians will wear black health monitoring rings seen on the fingers of several branch leaders. The rings monitor your heart rate and can detect rest and effort.

The wearables will link to software from FitRankings, a company based in Austin, Texas that provides data graphs connected to various wearable fitness trackers, such as the Nike Run Club and Fitbit wrist devices. The company has previously worked with USA Cycling, USA Triathlon, Under Armor and grocery chain HEB, Air Force Magazine mentioned.

Patricia Mulcahy, chief of the Space Force, said that data from the devices would not be used to punish or upgrade the guard. Instead, the devices can categorize individual guardians into a green-yellow-red light to determine their physical readiness, according to Sgt. Roger A. Toperman, Commander of the Space Force.

The devices are also part of a larger program to focus on Guardian’s mental and general wellbeing. The data can also be used to run group challenges, allow team members to see each other’s progress, or simply ask individual guardians to commit to exercise rather than exercise routines. Specific physical conditioning.

Continuous monitoring will be a change from the traditional practice in other disciplines to assess an individual’s strength and endurance in a single test once a year. The change also makes sense since space operations primarily involve a lot of seated office work, such as “sitting at a satellite console or observing missile launch data on a computer”. Military Times mentioned.

However, mobile devices can create a security risk if FitRankings store a lot of data. in 2018, pentagonal It issued a memo telling service members not to wear fitness trackers because they could reveal compromised location data to enemies, Military.com reported.

The devices can also give Guardians the impression that they are constantly being watched, Tupperman said. Towberman and FitRankings said efforts are being made to reduce these potential risks or inconveniences with the devices.

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The episodes are just one part of the Space Force’s recent effort to modernize the US military.

The 2022 defense spending bill also includes $1.3 billion for the Space Force to fund technology development projects that will help it stay ahead of America’s two biggest adversaries in space: Russia and China.

Countries have already tested anti-satellite missiles, and assigned high-energy lasers to attack satellites, according to the technology bulletin. wired.

As such, the Space Force would like to develop a less vulnerable national security space architecture. Military news site Breaking Defense reports that such an architecture could include “redundant systems across multiple orbits,” increase protection against cyberattacks, and reduce reliance on single-point ground control centers.

NEWSWEEK I called Space Force for comment.

Samantha Arnold

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