Certain electronic devices or their features are prohibited or controlled at Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) because they present a risk of compromising classified or sensitive information. The degree of prohibition varies depending on several factors, including the following:

  • The risk presented by the device or feature(s).

  • Type of security area and the protections available.

  • Whether there is classified matter, discussions, or processing in the area.

  • Whether the item is prohibited by federal, state, or local law (e.g., radar detectors are prohibited on KAFB).

Individuals are responsible for knowing and understanding the features of any device before bringing it on to any Sandia-controlled premises. Protective Force personnel or Sandia management may confiscate items that potentially qualify as prohibited or controlled items (see section titled Confiscation of Personal Devices below).  

Please ensure you have reviewed any information your Sandia point of contact has provided on prohibited and controlled articles, as well as the following information to determine if your article is allowed in the areas you will be visiting. If you have questions, please contact your Sandia point of contact or Security Connection.

Call Security Connection immediately to notify the Security Incident Management Program (SIMP) of any security related concerns, including those involving a prohibited or controlled article.

Prohibited Articles

Prohibited Articles are any item administratively restricted from being introduced onto Sandia-controlled premises. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Explosives.

  • Dangerous weapons ( for more information, see section below).

  • Instruments or material likely to produce substantial injury to persons or damage to persons or property.

  • Hazardous materials, which include, but are not limited to:

    • Radiological substances or chemicals in a form or quantity that would create an event or release a footprint greater than 30m. ( Note: This does not include radiological sources monitored or controlled under the MC&A Program)

    • Safety Level 3 and 4 Biological materials. (Note: BioSafety [BSL] 3 and BSL-4 materials are not approved in the Sandia Authorization Basis.)

  • Alcohol.

  • Any other item prohibited by law (e.g., illegal drugs and associated paraphernalia).

Some common articles that would otherwise be prohibited are allowed on Sandia-controlled premises if they meet specific criteria (essentially pre-approved exceptions), including the following:

  • Alcoholic beverages may be temporarily stored in unopened, sealed containers in a locked personally owned vehicle.

  • Personal chemical protection sprays are allowed on Sandia-controlled premises in small containers (3.5 ounces or less at Sandia/New Mexico, 2.5 ounces or less at Sandia/California).

  • Personal pocket or utility knives, such as Leatherman tools and Swiss Army knives, are allowed on Sandia-controlled premises if blades are less than 2.5 inches (per 18 U.S. Code 930). Knives intended for food preparation are also allowed, regardless of blade length. However, personally owned bladed weapons that are likely "to produce substantial injury to persons" (e.g., switchblade and hunting knives) are prohibited.

Dangerous Weapons

DOE/NNSA requirements prohibit the possession and use of dangerous weapons, including personally owned firearms, on Sandia-controlled premises

In addition to firearms, dangerous weapons include martial arts weapons (e.g., nunchaku, ninja stars), switchblade knives, and (per 18 U.S. Code § 930) knives with blade lengths of 2.5 inches or more. (Exception: Knives intended for food preparation are excluded from the blade-length regulations/rules referenced above.)

Members of the Workforce who access Sandia/NM facilities on Kirtland Air Force Base (KAFB) are affected by separate rules regarding firearms and weapons. If you choose to follow KAFB rules for introducing a firearm to base premises, do not park on or otherwise introduce the firearm to Sandia premises.

Firearms on Kirtland Air Force Base (KAFB)

Possessing an unauthorized privately owned firearm while on KAFB is a federal offense punishable by law. Make sure you verify with KAFB their rules on firearms prior to entering any KAFB gate. For more information on KAFB firearms policy, you can review this article on the firearms policy explained.

Controlled Articles

Controlled articles such as portable electronic devices, both Government and personally owned, capable of recording information or transmitting data (e.g., audio, video, radio frequency, infrared, and/or data link electronic equipment) are not permitted in Limited Areas (LAs), Protected Areas (PAs), and Material Access Areas (MAAs), without prior approval.

NOTE: Government owned computer systems which are part of the day to day operations are exempt from the requirement.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Devices with the ability to record audio or video.
  • Devices with the ability to transmit wirelessly (e.g., Wi-Fi and Bluetooth).
  • Wireless headsets and keyboards.
  • Two-way radios.
  • Smart Televisions (e.g., TVs with microphones, cameras, or wireless capabilities).
  • Medical devices capable of recording information or transmitting data (e.g., audio, video, radio frequency, infrared, or data link electronic equipment).
  • Transmitters.


  • The phrase "prior authorization" typically describes Sandia-owned devices and some personally owned portable electronic devices (PEDs) that meet specific criteria.

Simple Devices that are Allowed

Some devices are simple enough that they are allowed all the way into Limited Area buildings and are not restricted like other devices:

  • Calculators

  • One-way vehicle remote-entry key fobs, and key cards that use FRID

  • Garage door openers

  • AM/FM/Satellite radios or clock radios

  • Compact disc players

  • MP3 Players without any transmitting or receiving capabilities

  • One-way (receive only) pagers

This approval does not apply to devices with additional features beyond the simple design. For example, key fobs that use Bluetooth are not considered simple devices and are treated like other mobile devices. Follow the same rules below for mobile devices.

Visitor-Owned Computer Devices & Media (e.g., CDs, thumb drives, removable hard drives)

Non-U.S. government-owned computing equipment and media are allowed only in Sandia Public Areas, Non-Public Areas, and Property Protection Areas (PPAs) unless locally posted (such as facility-specific) restrictions prohibit them.

Non-U.S. government visitor-owned computing equipment and media are prohibited in Sandia Limited Areas and more restricted areas. An exception for this can be obtained using form SA 2712-CVC, Non-U.S. Government Computing Equipment and Media Temporary One-Time Exception to SNL Policy . Visitors must engage their Sandia point of contact if this exception is required.

Government-owned Computer Devices & Media (e.g., CDs, thumb drives, removable hard drives)

U.S. government-owned media, laptops, and tablet type computers do not require any approval to be brought onto Sandia-controlled premises including a Limited Area if they are identifiable as U.S. government-owned property.

Mobile phones and other U.S. government agency owned mobile devices are not allowed into Sandia Limited Areas except for those covered under “Transport Dignitaries in the Limited Area” or “Allow Sandia Field Office Visitors and DOE Albuquerque Complex Staff to Carry Portable Electronic Devices” defined within Laboratory policy.

Use of non-Sandia Computer Media with Sandia Information Technology (IT) Resources

Sandia Members of the Workforce and visitors are authorized to bring computer media (such as CDs, floppy disks, Zip® and Jazz® disks, thumb drives, pen drives, USB drives, removable hard drives, etc.) onto Sandia-owned premises and use them with Sandia Information Technology resources under the following conditions:

  • The media was obtained through approved U.S. government or Sandia procurement channels and is identifiable as U.S. government-owned property, or

  • The media is provided by business partners as part of program or project activities and is needed to perform Sandia work. 

If you have computer media that must be used with Sandia IT resources, engage your Sandia point of contact.

Promotional items such as those handed out at trade shows or conferences or other unsolicited media received from outside entities should not be used with Sandia IT resources.

Mobile Devices

Mobile Devices of any type, whether Sandia-, Government- or personally-owned are prohibited from entering any location designated as Secure Space.

A mobile device is a portable computing device that:

  • has a small form factor such that it can easily be carried by a single individual
  • is designed to operate without a physical connection (e.g., wirelessly transmit or receive information)
  • possesses local, non-removable data storage
  • is powered-on for extended periods of time with a self-contained power source

Sandia Members of the Workforce (employees, contractors, and consultants) and visitors may bring and use mobile devices on Sandia-controlled premises up to and including the the Limited Areas.

These devices are prohibited from entering Secure Space. Mobile devices may only be used in accordance with their intended consumer use, including but not limited to, making and receiving phone calls, text messaging and listening to music as long as that use does not violate the requirements defined within any Laboratory Policy.

Prior to bringing a mobile device into the Limited Area:

  • Turn off Bluetooth and leave it off while in the Limited Area.
  • Turn off Wi-Fi and leave it off while in the Limited Area.
  • Review " Unallowable Use of Personal Devices" to view additional restrictions.

Sandia Members of the Workforce and visitors must obey safety- and security-related signs, including any unique to the area being accessed regardless of the type of area. Do not introduce an item or an electronic function (e.g., wireless) to an area where a sign says it is not allowed.

Sandia Members of the Workforce and visitors that choose to bring their mobile devices onto Sandia-controlled premises assume the risk for the device and its usage while on the premises. Sandia is not responsible for loss, damage or theft of mobile devices or data occurring as a result of the device being present or in use at Sandia National Laboratories or in association with confiscation.

Storage for Mobile Devices

You may have an item that is not be allowed past a certain point. Approved storage locations are normally found throughout Sandia-controlled premises, but may not always be located near to where your business is to be conducted. Plan ahead to determine whether your device will be allowed into these areas, and if not, where approved storage is located.

If in doubt, leave it outside any Sandia controlled premises.

Devices may not enter, or be carried through, an unapproved area to reach a device storage location.

Unallowable Use of Personal Devices

When in an area where your device is allowed, you may not use the device in a manner that would:

  • Disrupt work, hinder an individual’s ability to hear announcements, or impact employee safety (e.g. not being aware of surroundings, or being distracted while driving, biking, walking, etc.).

  • Be considered a noncompliant activity or is used in a manner that is noncompliant with Laboratory Policy (e.g., violate Sandia Policy on Waste, Fraud, and Abuse).

  • Result in the processing or discussion of Classified on any device not approved for Classified.

  • Result in the disclosure or capture of Classified or Unclassified Controlled Information (UCI). This includes audio or visual information that is Classified or UCI. 

  • Acquire any audio or visual information on personnel or their activities without their documented full knowledge and consent.

  • Have been altered for uses other than the intended consumer use.

  • Result in connecting directly to internal Sandia networks or Sandia owned computing devices (e.g. docking to a government desktop or laptop). This includes using a USB port to charge the device.

  • Connect it to any Sandia Wi-Fi network inside a Sandia Limited Area.

  • Create a Wi-Fi hotspot in a Sandia Limited Area.

  • Turn on Bluetooth inside a Sandia Limited Area.

  • Activated the camera feature on a device while inside a Sandia Limited Area. (Note: This does not apply to the use of FaceID on a device approved for use in the Limited Area)

Confiscation of Personal Devices 

Suspected or reported unallowable use of a personally owned mobile device may result in the confiscation of the device and any associated media for investigation by representatives from Sandia or other properly credentialed authorities.

Unallowable use includes but is not limited to:

  • security incidents;

  • violations;

  • information of personnel security interest;

  • waste, fraud, and abuse; and

  • any other actual or suspected noncompliance that affects or potentially affects Sandia security and allegations of misconduct that include, but are not limited to violations of Sandia National Laboratories Code of Ethics & Standards of Conduct

The user of the personally owned mobile device may be asked to provide any passwords or passcodes necessary to facilitate the investigation.  Failure to supply the necessary information may result in forfeiture of the device and/or disciplinary action.

The device and any associated media may be sanitized and/or destroyed as a result of the investigation.

There will be no compensation provided for devices or media that are wiped, damaged, or destroyed as a result of investigations for unallowable use.

Medically Necessary Devices

Medical necessity for an electronic device is determined by a licensed physician or health care practitioner operating within the scope of their practice. Devices that are considered optional (e.g., peripheral devices that pair with the medically necessary device, but are not themselves medically necessary) or recreational (e.g., heart monitors used for fitness purposes) do not meet the criteria.

Medically necessary devices which do not have controlled article technologies (audio/video recording and/or transmitting capabilities) may be brought into Sandia-controlled Limited Areas without notification or registration. Articles that do possess these technologies should be registered with the controlled and prohibited articles program (CARP) (e.g., Bluetooth hearing aids).

Report to the Vault-Type Room (VTR) Manager, or the Security Representative, or the Point of Contact (POC) for a facility before bringing medically necessary electronic devices that are capable of transmitting or storing data electronically into any VTRs, Special Access Program Facilities (SAPFs), or Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIFs). A device only needs to be reported before the first time it is brought into a new location. Devices approved under the previously required Controlled Articles Registration Process do not need to be reported under the new requirement.

You should turn off and/or disable transmitting capabilities if the use of this technology is not necessary for the normal operation of the device. Data storage capabilities do not need to be disabled on a medically necessary device while on Sandia-controlled premises.

Do not connect medically necessary devices to Sandia-issued computing devices or information technology (IT) resources.


If you have business need to use non-U.S. Government computing equipment or media in Limited or more restricted areas, work with your Sandia point of contact to complete form SA 2712-CVC, Non-U.S. Government Computing Equipment and Media Temporary One-Time Exception to SNL Policy (see section above titled Visitor-Owned Computer Devices & Media).

Use controlled electronic devices or features inside Sandia Limited Areas for specific business purposes only when those devices or features are covered within policy or have been approved and registered using the Controlled Articles Registration Process (CARP).  Test, Measurement, and Diagnostic Equipment (TMDE) are exempt from registration in CARP, per the ODFSA approval for Controlled Articles. This includes but is not limited to oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers, volt meters, frequency counters, etc.

Engage your Sandia point of contact if you have a controlled article that needs to be registered, and be prepared to provide them detailed information (make, model, serial number, etc.). This applies to  non-computer devices with the ability to transmit, or record data, such as:

  • Cameras

  • Devices with the ability to record audio or video

  • Devices with the ability to transmit wirelessly (i.e., Wi-Fi and Bluetooth)

  • Smart Televisions (i.e., microphone, camera, or wireless capabilities)

  • Transmitters

  • Two-way radios