The 442nd Signal Battalion, assigned under the United States Army Signal School, 15th Signal Brigade, serves as one of the United States. Army's premier Signal leader and information technology education institutions. Its mission is to develop Signal leaders and provide related functional training to officers, warrant officers, noncommissioned officers and civilians from the U.S. Army, other services and the international community. Consisting of the Leader Development College (LDC), Leader College for Network Operations (LCNO), and Forward Operating Base (FOB) Ready, the "Ready" Battalion provides state of the art training and education to students in residence via distributed learning, mobile training teams, classroom settings, and real-world simulations.
The LDC strives to develop lifelong learning programs and materials in support of programs of instruction, support combined arms doctrine and tactics training, provide command and control, administrative functions and logistic support for permanent party and student personnel, and to conduct professional development and mandatory training for permanent party personnel. They also provide instruction as part of the Advanced Communication Elective for the Army's Command and General Staff Officers' College. The International Military Student Office is also part of the battalion. Companies within the battalion develop, manage and conduct approved programs of instruction for Branch 25 and other select technical courses for students from the Total Army, international allies and Department of Defense (DoD) civilians.
The LCNO, with a highly dedicated staff of over 180 officers, warrant officers, noncommissioned officers, and civilians, trains and educates more than 3,800 Soldiers and civilians in information dissemination, network management, and information assurance in 46 distinct courses annually using relevant information technology services using fielded and state-of-the-art equipment.
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The LCNO is continually increasing hands-on training, by integrating new technologies, expanding information security training, and establishing the first Army Cyber Space curriculum. To achieve this, they acquired battle command systems, built industry partnerships, and added information assurance (IA) training to all courses and established the warrant officer MOS 255S Cyber Security specialty. They also added another Digital Tactical Operations Center (DTOC), bringing the total available DTOC labs to three. These labs teach officers, warrant officers and noncommissioned officers how to configure, deploy, and operate DTOC systems. Formal partnerships with Adobe, NetApp and SANS were established with the college, which reduce equipment cost and provide even better battlefield support to the combatant commanders. To produce Signaleers with industry standard IA Certifications required by DoD 8570.01-M, IA certification training and vouchers were offered to all students. The new certification program ensures Signal leaders will meet Department of Defense certification requirements before they leave the schoolhouse.
Career courses focus on certifying information systems managers, telecommunication systems engineers, technicians, operators and maintainers. Functional courses, one to four weeks in duration and offered several times during the year, provide training on automation topics critical to the success of Army and DoD automaters worldwide. Courses include: Communications Security Custodian, Network Manager Security, Security+ and Certified Information Systems Security Professional. These courses provide a means for military personnel and DoD civilians to keep pace with the rapidly changing face of automation. Functional courses can be scheduled through the Army's Automated Training Requirements and Resource System.
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Headquarters and Alpha Company, 442nd Signal Battalion are composed of the battalion headquarters, cadre, and all other personnel assigned to the Cyber College. Bravo Company is composed of the mobile subscriber equipment platoon and all students assigned to the initial entry Signal training, which includes Warrant Officer Basic Course and Signal Basic Officer Leadership Course; specialty courses assigned to Bravo Company are the Joint Automated Communications Engineering System Course. Charlie Company is composed of all students assigned for continuing Signal training, which includes Signal Officer Branch Qualification Course, the BCT/BN Staff Officer Course (BBSOC), the Warrant Officer Advanced Course and the Signal Captains' Career Course; specialty courses assigned include the Director of Information Management Course, the Pre-Signal Command Course, the FA 53 and FA 24 course. In order to provide 442nd students the opportunity to apply their newly acquired knowledge in a simulated setting, the SIGCEN established the Multi-Echelon Battle Command Integration Environment, a fully integrated networking and command post systems capability located at FOB Ready. In October 2008, the U.S. Army Signal Center of Excellence partnered with the Program Executive Office Command and Control Communications-Tactical (PEO-C3T), PM Command Posts (PM CP), PM Battle Command (PM BC), PM Tactical Operations Centers (PM TOCs), PM Mobile Electric Power (PM MEP), PM Force Battle Command Brigade and Below (PM FBCB2), other PEOs, and U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Capability Managers to create a unique, standing, tactical command post and networking capability at Fort Gordon.
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This partnership has effectively institutionalized the environment created during Operation TOCFEST 2008. This initiative will serve dozens of purposes for the participants: it will enable an on-going, validated engineering study of the tactical command post as a total entity; it will help influence how command posts will be institutionally described and trained; it will provide an opportunity to examine TOC environmental over an extended period of time; it will provide a completely integrated bundle of C4ISR technologies that PM's and the Signal School can use to experiment with system-of-systems of integration; it will provide a baseline from which systems engineers can develop training tools for Soldiers; it will facilitate Signal Operational Tests and Training Events; it will allow the Signal Center to educate students on configuration control for operational-through tactical level information technology/national security systems; and it will enable the SIGCEN to implement fully integrated Capstone exercises. This initiative has already paid huge dividends. This environment was integrated into five different programs of instruction (the Signal Officer Basic Leader Course, the Signal Captains Career Course, the Brigade S6 Staff Course, the Information Systems Management Course, and the Information Systems Technician Course), and clustered services to dynamically distribute hardware resources: 13 different ABCS systems were virtualized on a single workstation, which was a first for the Army. This on-going "TOCFEST-like" capability fully integrates networking (routers, switches, firewalls, and software management/Information Assurance Tools) and command post technologies, and provides a digitized and physical infrastructure. In less than five months, this homegrown initiative has established one of the premier Battle Command Systems environments in TRADOC.
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