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Southwest Asia

Time for the Military to Take a Long, Hard Look

February 1, 2014
By Lt. Gen. Daniel P. Bolger, USA (Ret.)

Military people like to look at themselves, and it has nothing to do with vanity. Rather, it is about improving, but the attention is not always welcome at the business end. Senior personnel offer the usual advice: Cooperate and learn. Do not be defensive. Looking at ourselves can only make us better, so we go along with it. And often—not always, but enough to matter—we find out important facts we did not know.

Lessons From Iraq Guide Afghanistan Exit

January 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

The retrograde of equipment from Afghanistan requires a monumental effort after almost 13 years of war and an influx of billions of dollars’ worth of materiel to the country. To return the necessary pieces along with personnel from the landlocked location, logisticians around the military are developing creative solutions that offer redundancy. Plans are progressing more smoothly than in Iraq, as experts apply lessons learned and a hub-and-spoke model that allows for a controlled collapsing of installations.

Smartphones Help Push Network to
 Dismounted Soldier

November 1, 2013
By Rita Boland

The U.S. Army’s goal to push the network down to the dismounted soldier is now reality as Rangers units and the 10th Mountain Division begin employing Nett Warrior. But developers are not resting on their laurels. They already are adding advancements to increase capability and improve functionality.

Telecommunications Leaves Mark on Afghanistan

September 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers

A massive telecommunications infrastructure modernization effort in Afghanistan is designed to contribute to socioeconomic development; provide entry into the global information society; and support national prosperity, sustainability and stability. A key part of that effort is coming to fruition: officials with a telecommunications advisory group in that country expect the completion very soon—possibly this month—of a fiber-optic ring around the nation’s perimeter.

Working Toward
 Worldwide Interoperability

September 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers

The working group that helped solve the coalition interoperability puzzle in Afghanistan is working across the U.S. Defense Department and with other nations to ensure that the lessons learned will be applied to future operations around the globe. Experience in creating the Afghan Mission Network may benefit warfighters worldwide, such as those in the Asia Pacific, and may even be applied to other missions, including homeland security and humanitarian assistance.

Exelis to Operate, Maintain and Defend Communications in Southwest Asia

May 13, 2013
George I. Seffers

 
Exelis Systems Corp., Colorado Springs, Colo., is being awarded a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract with a maximum value of $127,150,517 for the operation, maintenance and defense of Army communications in Southwest Asia and Central Asia. Work will be performed in Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq and Qatar. The Army Contracting Command, Fort Huachuca, Ariz., is the contracting activity. 

Changing the Course of Coalition Connectivity

May 1, 2013
By Rita Boland

NATO has established a new organization in Afghanistan to manage the communications and information systems there in an attempt to revolutionize its approach to those services. The group subsumes operations that used to fall under multiple regional commands, streamlining activities while conserving resources.

The NATO Sector International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) reached initial operational capability at the beginning of January and expects to reach full operational capability in June, putting the organization three-and-a-half months ahead of schedule. With the sector’s establishment, one group now oversees NATO’s entire footprint in Afghanistan to meet requirements in the most expeditious, effective and cost-efficient manner. This includes managing an estimated 70 to 75 points of presence. “It also gives us much more flexibility,” says Col. David E. Jenkins, USA, commander, Sector ISAF.

At full operation, the sector will have responsibility for all coalition, command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) that NATO manages. In the event of any failure, sector personnel will have to find a solution to bring equipment back online through various service-level agreements.

Making Tactical Communications History

May 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers

Two brigades from the Army's 10th Mountain Division are preparing to deploy to Afghanistan with a host of technologies that will allow the units to provide their own network down to the tactical edge. The new equipment provides battalion and company commanders with a communications on the move capability and pushes critical data down to the individual squad level.

Marine Corps Ponders Training Changes

April 1, 2013
By Max Cacas

After a special operations deployment, handling state-of-the-art communications technology tops the list.

Back from a nearly year-long deployment to Afghanistan, the 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion already is working to apply lessons learned to training for the next deployment. As the battalion prepares for its next mission, it is reflecting on what its Marines learned about how they train, how their equipment worked and how they will prepare themselves for the future.

While they are able to use some of the best electronic communications gear developed for the military, the Marines nonetheless are trying to learn how they can improve both their initial and follow-up training to get the most out of that equipment. They also are asking important questions about whether they have enough, and the right kinds, of equipment.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CWO2) Jason Reed, USMC, is a spectrum operations officer, G-6, and one of the members of the Marine battalion responsible for supporting the communications needs of Marines during the deployment. CWO2 Reed says one of the first things his bosses at the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) headquarters wanted to know is what worked, what went well and, more importantly, what needed improvement based on the deployment. For CWO2 Reed, that meant one thing: training for combat service support personnel.

He explains that MARSOC recruits Marines who have already received training for more conventional duties. “They’re radio operators, they’re maintenance folks, they’re cryptologists, they’re data network operators,” CWO2 Reed outlines. Upon arrival at MARSOC, however, the Marines receive a new level of training to support Special Operations, getting what he calls “a new baseline” in training.

LGS Innovations to Modernize Southwest Asia Communications Hub

February 25, 2013
George I. Seffers

 
LGS Innovations, Herndon, Va., recently announced it has been awarded a contract worth just over $49 million to upgrade the U.S. Army’s Main Communications Facility (MCF) in Southwest Asia. The MCF, designed as a state-of-the-art commercial communications operations center, will serve as the central information systems hub for the region. The MCF will house 9,000 square feet of usable equipment room space and will be capable of multiplexing and de-multiplexing circuits transported over copper, fiber, satellite, or terrestrial line of sight radios. LGS will engineer, furnish, install, test, and secure the Army’s extensive network, transmission, and voice infrastructure in Southwest Asia. The company has also been tasked to execute a critical cutover of transmission circuits as well as design, develop, furnish, and install a virtualized infrastructure to accommodate the migration of servers and their applications from existing facilities to the MCF.

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