One of the Cheyenne U.S. post office locations that was closed so postal workers could handle a recent deluge of packages from Amazon and other shippers was the facility on the FE Warren Air Force Base.
That closure didn’t necessarily affect anything mission-critical for the base, FE Warren officials told Cowboy State Daily on Friday, other than inconveniencing customers who found their nearest post office closed on Tuesday.
The situation created extremely long lines at the U.S. Post Office at Converse Avenue in Cheyenne on Tuesday, which was the only open facility for the community of 67,000. The line there was often more than 30 people deep and an hour or more wait.
Mission Critical Military Stuff Has Its Own Track
Military personnel on base have more than one option for getting time-sensitive materials where they need to go, Staff Sgt. Cody Dowell told Cowboy State Daily.
“Each unit actually has the resources, if they need to, to have those things that are a little bit more time sensitive, to mail those documents through other postal services as the need arises,” he said. “At this time, nothing critical has been halted.
“Most operations we deal with don’t really utilize the mail system.”
The services Dowell referred to include things like UPS and FedEx. But there’s also a track separate from the postal system for classified materials or anything else particularly sensitive.
“That’s a kind of different system that has its own procedures,” Dowell said.
The Digital Effect
Retired Col. Tucker Fagan, former wing commander of the base, told Cowboy State Daily that digital communication options have changed how sensitive materials are communicated as well.
“There are private networks,” he said, adding that they are separate from the internet so that they are more difficult to hack.
However, other countries do try to – sometimes successfully – tap into these systems, Fagan said.
“The Russians laid a cable from Vladivostok through the Sierra Vostok and then up through Russia over to Moscow,” he recalled. “We tapped that.
“So, we knew every single message to and from the eastern headquarters.”
Members of the military are trained to be constantly vigilant about how they handle information that comes from such a source.
“Say something goes on that line and only three, four, five people know about it, and then they see, (or) we talk about it,” Fagan said. “They’ll go, ‘Hey, either we’ve got a mole or somehow they’ve compromised our communication system.’ See what I mean? “
Being very careful of what information gets discussed where, so that it doesn’t get back to the source, becomes just as important as tapping the line itself.
“I have to protect the source, because in that case, the source was that cable, and the method,” Fagan said.