by Jim Garamone
WASHINGTON – The Defense Department made changes to the base realignment and closure legislation and sent it to Congress, DoD officials said Aug. 2. DoD would like the legislation passed in Fiscal Year 2002.
The main instrument of base closure and realignment – the commission – remains, said Pete Aldridge, defense undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics. The "all-or-nothing" aspect of previous BRAC rounds also remains.
The effort – now entitled the Efficient Facilities Initiative – will address all U.S. military installations. The legislation pertains only to installations in the United States and its territories. "Recommendations for closure or retention will be based upon future force-structure needs to meet our strategy and will emphasize retained military value," Aldridge said. This was not part of deliberations in previous BRAC rounds.
Other changes include having nine commissioners rather than eight to avoid tie votes, and that there is a single round of closures and realignments rather than two as the previous administration proposed.
In addition to the stateside effort, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has tasked the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to examine overseas-basing needs. Plans for closing overseas installations would be due to the department by March 2003.
DoD officials estimate the military has between 20 and 25 percent excess infrastructure. They said it’s a drain on constrained resources better used in modernizing the force and transforming the military.
Independent auditors estimate the military is now saving about $6 billion a year from prior closure rounds. "We now estimate that after spending up-front costs, we will start to achieve savings in FY 2007 and will eventually reach a steady-state savings rates of more than $7 billion a year," Aldridge said. He estimated closure costs would be around $10 billion total.
Here’s how the legislation would work. If Congress passes the legislation, Rumsfeld would work with the services to begin a comprehensive review of DoD installations, emphasizing military value. He would recommend a revised infrastructure plan to the EFI commission by March 2003.
The independent commission would review the DoD list "and could make changes or accept the defense secretary’s position or whatever," Aldridge said. The commission would send its recommendations to the president by July 2003.
Once the list reaches the White House, the president would have two weeks to accept or reject the recommendations on an all-or-none basis. If he rejects the list, the commission shall provide revised recommendations back to the president by mid-August 2003. If the president rejects the revised recommendations the second time, the process ends, Aldridge said.
"If the president accepts the recommendations, they will be forwarded to Congress in early September 2003," he said. Forty-five days after the president sends the list to Capitol Hill, the recommendations become binding unless Congress enacts a joint resolution rejecting the recommendations on an all-or-none basis.
If the list is accepted, the defense secretary "must initiate the binding recommendations within two years and complete them within six years," Aldridge said.
DoD has no list now on what installations may or may not close. Aldridge said this had to wait on the results of the Quadrennial Defense Review, which had a Sept. 30 deadline. DoD will do an analysis that will line up force structure with infrastructure.
Aldridge said DoD is asking for one round rather than two to get the pain of base closure over quickly. He said there is no sense in drawing out the process.
Mr. Garamone is assigned to American Forces Press Service.
by Stephen Larsen
FORT BELVOIR, Va. – The Army awarded a firm-fixed-price 10-year requirements contract July 25 to Fermont of Bridgeport, Conn., to produce about 15,000 three-kilowatt tactical quiet generator sets. Estimated value of the contract is $140 million.
The 3kW TQG – a skid-mounted, diesel-fueled set available in either a 60-hertz or 400 Hz configuration – provides electricity to power a variety of combat and support systems. These systems include missile air-defense systems and a variety of communications and surveillance equipment, according to LTC Robert McKenzie of the project manager’s office for mobile electric power here.
PM-MEP, which is managing the contract, is part of Communications-Electronics Command’s systems-management center at Fort Monmouth, N.J.
"The 3kW TQG is replacing existing, overaged military-standard gasoline and diesel generator sets," said McKenzie. "These modernized diesel sets increase safety, reliability and survivability while reducing size, weight, noise and infrared signatures."
According to Ray Billings, an engineer with PM-MEP, the 3kW TQG is the most technologically advanced generator set PM-MEP has developed, capturing the latest electrical-generating technologies from the commercial sector. It’s also the first generator set the Defense Department has developed that has a variable-speed engine directly coupled to a permanent-magnet generator.
|The new three-kilowatt TQG uses advanced technology, including a permanent magnet generator (inset, lower left), which allows voltage and frequency regulation to within 1 percent and reduces size and weight.|
"The diesel engine is controlled with an electronic governor," said Billings, "which varies the speed between 3,000 and 3,600 revolutions per minute in direct proportion to the electrical load." He explained that engine speed is in direct proportion to the load "so the variable speed engine will work only as hard as it needs to for any given load."
"That means less fuel and a longer engine life than conventional generators, which work at the same speed regardless of the load," Billings said.
It also means less weight and less fuel. The 3kW TQG weighs 272 pounds empty and 326 pounds with battery and full fuel – 40 percent less than the current 3kW set it will replace, according to Billings. The 3kW TQG, he said, will also include all other desirable features of the standard TQG family such as low noise and smaller cubic size (35 inches by 28 inches by 27 inches), as well as protection from electromagnetic interference and nuclear, biological and chemical agents.
"Compared to the aging military-standard generator sets they’re replacing," said Billings, "TQGs are quieter, smaller, lighter, more reliable, use less fuel and are all diesel JP-8 (jet petroleum) powered – supporting the DoD ‘one fuel on the battlefield’ policy."
McKenzie added that the 3kW TQG is the "first step" in advancing electrical-generating technology to prepare for the next generation of mobile-electric-power generating sources which will support the power requirements of the Army’s future objective force.
Fermont has been producing 4,500 of the same TQG under a previous contract, awarded in February 2000. Of these, McKenzie said, PM-MEP has fielded some 1,200 sets, "and we’re continuing to field them."
Mr. Larsen works at Communications-Electronics Command’s systems-management center.
NORFOLK, Va. – The Joint Command, Control and Information Warfare School here is accepting students for its Joint Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence Staff and Operations Course.
JCIWS is one of three schools within the Joint Forces Staff College here. Its mission is to educate military officers and their civilian equivalents in the concepts, applications and procedures associated with C4I and information operations in a joint environment.
JC4ISOC is a four-week course focused on providing a non-technical, broad understanding of C4I resources, techniques and applications extending from the national and strategic levels to theater and tactical levels supporting the commanders in chief and forward-deployed forces. Course emphasis is balanced between operational aspects and procedures associated with the command-and-control process and managing and operating current joint C4I systems.
Topics of instruction include the global information grid, joint C4I doctrine, space systems and operations, information assurance and information operations, joint interoperability, national reconnaissance systems, Defense Department indications and warning systems, national foreign intelligence, foreign C4I systems, joint-task-force C4 architecture and C4 planning in crisis response.
The course also includes a four-day field trip to Washington, D.C., where students tour various agencies including the National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, National Imagery and Mapping Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, White House Communications Agency and the Pentagon.
There are no tuition or registration fees associated with the course. Travel and per diem costs are unit-funded. Students must have top secret/sensitive compartmented information clearance before attending, as several briefings and tours are conducted at that classification level.
To enroll, contact the JC4ISOC quota-control officer, Navy Cmdr. Gretchen Herbert, at (757) 443-6320 (DSN 646-6320), or email email@example.com.
More course information can be found on the JCIWS webpage at http://www.jfsc.ndu.edu/jciws/jciws.htm.
by Jim Garamone
WASHINGTON – The size of the U.S. military might not change much, but the way it’s configured and the missions it addresses will change, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said.
In an American Forces Information Service interview, Rumsfeld said force sizing was one aspect of the Quadrennial Defense Review released in September. He said the military "may not be different in numbers, but in how they are organized."
The threat-based strategy of the past is over. Rumsfeld said that for years the United States organized forces to combat the Soviet Union. He said he envisions a force that’s threat-based for the near term – to address risks in Southwest Asia and North Korea, for example – and a combination of threat-based and capabilities-based in the medium- and long-term.
Driving this effort is the current state of the Defense Department. The United States fields the best military in the world, but there are problems.
"If I can come in here, look under every rock and find a multibillion-dollar problem that hasn’t been tended to, something is wrong," Rumsfeld said. "We’ve got to get it fixed. It didn’t get that wrong in one year, and we’re not going to get it fixed in one year, but we’ve got to get it on the right path.
"We have to begin with the reality that we’ve had a strategy-resource mismatch for the better part of a decade," he said. When he arrived six months ago, he said, "I was told we don’t have forces or the airlift or the various other assets to meet what we currently say is our strategy and force-sizing construct."
The "construct" since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 has been for the U.S. military to be able to fight and win two near-simultaneous major regional contingencies.
Given this picture, what are the risks? "We knew we had an operational risk because of our strategy-resource shortfall," Rumsfeld said. "We also see we have a risk to our force from decay and from shrinkage and from age."
Infrastructure hadn’t been repaired, aircraft were aging at unacceptable rates, maintenance backlogs were soaring and "the shipbuilding budget had been put on a trajectory so that it was diving down to 230 ships," he said.
The situation risks people’s lives and safety, and also their morale. "They’re told they need to fly old airplanes, and they’re not going to have the maintenance parts to keep them in the air, and they’re told they’re going to be working and living in infrastructure that’s old and decrepit," Rumsfeld said.
The last risk is the future risk. "The president says the 21st century is different from the 20th century, and we ought to begin thinking about transforming that force at a bit better rate," Rumsfeld said. The military needs information dominance and information interoperability, and the means to address the asymmetrical threats potential foes would most probably use.
The effects of all these risks on force structure are unclear, he said. In the QDR, civilian and military officials are assessing those risks and looking for balance.
"We face risks we can’t identify by country," Rumsfeld said. "That’s why we need this capability-based strategy."
U.S. military planners can envision the types of threats the United States may face. The military must be arranged to deal with and deter those threats "regardless of where they come from," Rumsfeld said.
Mr. Garamone works for American Forces Information Service.
by Sue McKinney
FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. – BG James Hylton took command of Army Signal Command during a silent change-of-command ceremony held here July 11.
MG William Russ handed over the reins in Signal style as semaphore flags indicated movements rather than vocal commands during the ceremony.
|CSM Larry Paylor, Army Signal Command's command sergeant major; COL James Van Patten, ASC's deputy commander; BG James Hylton and MG William Russ conduct an inspection of troops during ASC's change-of-command ceremony July 11 at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.|
Hylton comes to ASC from the office of the director of information systems, command, control, communications and computers, office of the Army secretary, Washington, D.C., where he served as director of programs and architecture.
Hylton told ASC soldiers, civilians, families and members of the industry team that he had big shoes to fill.
"The men and women on the parade field, and the thousands they represent, exemplify what’s best about our great country," he said. "They have my unfailing commitment to keep them persuasive in peace, decisive in war and pre-eminent across the operational spectrum."
Ms. McKinney is assigned to ASC’s public-affairs office at Fort Huachuca.
by CW3 Todd Boudreau
FORT BUCKNER, Okinawa – 333d Signal Company, 58th Signal Battalion (the "hub of the Pacific"), took part in Team Challenge ’01, which consisted of three subexercises: Balikatan, Cobra Gold and Tandem Thrust. Team Challenge flung Signal soldiers from Thailand to the Philippines and kept the standardized tactical-entry point site here hopping.
Team Challenge was a linked regional exercise that sought to foster several security communities. Tandem Thrust combined U.S., Australian and Canadian forces, while Balikatan and Cobra Gold focused on combined commander-in-chief Pacific forces.
The exercise scenario was that ethnic "Silverlanders" in Greenland had been mistreated by Greenlanders. Silverland then attacked Greenland and Outland, and the fighting threatened to close the Magma Straits. The United Nations declared a Chapter VII mandate calling for international response. International forces were to conduct a peace-enforcement operation to separate belligerent forces in Greenland.
It was a two-phase operation, with an initial attack to secure the Magma Straits and to repel the Silverland forces from Outland as part of Phase I (Tandem Thrust). Soldiers also established a posture of forces in Philand and Country X while executing the U.N. Chapter VII operations in Greenland as part of Phase II (Balikatan and Cobra Gold).
The endstate was to be a secure, reliable and dynamic communication network able to support respective commanders’ execution of coalition operations.
Balikatan was based out of Clark Air Base, Republic of the Philippines, and ran April 27-May 18. Fort Buckner’s STEP site provided 256 kilobits per second for secret Internet protocol routed network, 384 kbps for non-secure Internet protocol routed network and 256 kbps for Defense Switch Network connectivity to 4th Marines Division via a III Marine Expeditionary Forces communications unit in Ternate, Philippines.
Cobra Gold took place May 15-29 and was based in Phitsanoluk, Thailand. Fort Buckner’s STEP site provided six phased satellite shots for the exercise. Connectivity included 1,369 kbps for SIPRNET; 1,958 kbps for NIPRNET; 1,536 kbps for DSN; 128 kbps for the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System; "plain old telephone service"; 128 kbps for the global digital videoteleconferencing service; 128 kbps for coalition wide-area network; and Automatic Digital Network connectivity to commands such as Joint Task Force J-6 (I Corps G-6), various systems-control sites and 4th Marines Division. Unit locations included Camp Naresuan, Phitsanulok, Samaesan, Camp Serit Sena, Sattahip and Ban Chan Khrem, all in Thailand.
One of the Cobra Gold satellite shots was to a 112th Signal Battalion TSC-93C van at Camp Serit Sena, which provided SIPRNET, NIPRNET and DSN. Another shot included a 29th Signal Battalion TSC-85C van in Phitsanulok, which provided SIPRNET, NIPRNET, DSN, JWICS and AUTODIN to 29th Signal Battalion’s combined joint task force.
Tandem Thrust was based off the USS Blue Ridge with a primary theater of Australia. The exercise ran April 9-June 14. Fort Buckner’s STEP site provided 256 kbps for DSN via its Cobra Gold link into Sattahip.
Overall, more than 6.5 megabits per second of data and voice services were provided to Team Challenge ’01, with only Defense Red Switch Network services remaining unrequested.
STEP sites provide a standardized tactical-communications package to deployed warfighters to support global command, control, communications, computers and intelligence. Seven communications services (DSN, DRSN, VTC, NIPRNET, SIPRNET, JWICS and AUTODIN) are pre-positioned at various Defense Satellite Communication System earth terminals. STEP terminals have a tactical equipment suite which includes low-rate multiplexers, AN/FCC-100(V)7 multiplexers, tactical-satellite signal processors, a switch multiplex unit, Integrated Tactical Strategic Digital Network suite, and various cryptographic and support equipment to interface the various tactical-satellite terminals such as AN/TSC-85, AN/TSC-100, AN/TSC-93, AN/TSC-94 and AN/TSC-152.
CW3 Boudreau is the station manager for Fort Buckner’s satellite communications.
by 2LT Dan Reilly
HILL 754, Korea – Among the jagged peaks of Warrior Country, one stands alone: Hill 754. This, the tallest mountain in the 2d Infantry Division’s operations area, is the home of Casey 39er, the division’s fixed-site frequency-modulation retransmission facility.
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, soldiers from throughout the division team up with troops from Company C, 122d Signal Battalion, to keep 2d Infantry Division talking. Their teamwork, shared commitment to providing world-class communications support and technical competence link units along the Uijongbu-Tongduchon corridor and beyond – allowing commanders, leaders and soldiers to communicate via FM.
Soldiers assigned to Casey 39er affectionately call the narrow, winding road to the hilltop the "Time Warp." Hill 754 was originally occupied by 127th Signal Battalion, 7th Infantry Division, as a retrans facility for very-high-frequency and FM radio communications in the early 1960s. By June 1967 the hill’s main bunker was built, and soon thereafter Company C, 122d Signal Battalion, took over operation of Hill 754.
Today, a trip up the Time Warp will transport you both backwards and forwards in time. While the aging main bunker and its surrounding quonset huts still house the soldiers of Casey 39er, inside the bunker’s radio room is the most modern of FM radio equipment, manned by military-occupation specialty 31Us trained to keep 2d Infantry Division talking.
A tour on Casey 39er is definitely a hardship assignment. During the winter, soldiers rely upon helicopters to transport their food and water to the top of the impassable hill, while the facility’s remote location means soldiers can only come off the small compound a couple of times a month.
It was in this setting that Company C invited 122d Signal Battalion soldiers and their Republic of Korea allies in 107th Signal Battalion to lace up their boots, ruck up and race up the Time Warp to the top of Warrior Country. The first "Casey 39er Challenge" offered more than 200 Signal soldiers the chance to test their intestinal fortitude.
Upon arriving at the registration point, soldiers weighed in their rucksacks, hydrated and shuffled about in anticipation of the unknown. Most soldiers had never been to the top of the hill and had only an inkling of what lay before them. Beginning five kilometers from Casey 39er’s OE-254 "antenna farm," the Casey 39er Challenge course climbed up the steep side of Hill 754, punishing each soldier every step of the way.
The pack of soldiers who began the race quickly strung out as the bright sun and the hill’s increasingly steep incline wore down participants. By the time they arrived at the top of Casey 39er – halfway home – competitors were winded and drenched in sweat. Greeting them at the top was a breathtaking view of the Tongduchon area and Casey 39er soldiers, who were blaring a radio and handing out water, juice and sports drinks.
Most competitors paused a moment at the top of Warrior Country to take some snapshots, drink and rest before pounding back down to the finish line.
2LT Reilly serves as the tactical-satellite/retransmission platoon leader in Company C, 122d Signal Battalion.
by 1LT Caroline Stallings
FORT HOOD, Texas – Beginning with the U.S. Forces Korea combined exercise Ulchi Focus Lens and culminating with III Corps’ and 4th Infantry Division’s warfighter exercise, III Mobile Armored Corps tackled the largest and longest (five months) series of corps-level exercises in recent memory.
Dubbed Phantom 2000, the exercise series served as a launching pad for digital communications and information systems planning and support as III Corps continued its transition to become the Army’s first digitized corps.
UFL (Phantom Focus) – which involved the first-time deployment of the newly upgraded III Corps tactical command post to the Republic of Korea – was followed by 13th Corps Support Command’s field-training exercise Phantom Lifeline and III Corps’ FTX Phantom Runner. Then came III Corps’ CPX Phantom Destroyer and the III Corps/4th Infantry Division warfighter (Phantom Fighter) exercise. While certainly challenging all the corps’ Signal assets, 3d Signal Brigade (consisting of 16th, 57th and 1114th Signal Battalions) – along with 13th and 124th Signal Battalions – rose to the challenge by providing exceptional CIS support to the war fighter.
"Because of the closeness in dates of each exercise, our approach was to plan this as one consolidated network executed in five phases," said MAJ John Cox, 3d Signal Brigade’s S-3. "Our success can be simply summed up in one word – teamwork – because it took all the corps’ Signal battalions working together to make this happen."
Phantom Focus required communications support for the corps covering halfway around the world. The brigade – using mobile-subscriber equipment in-theater and at Fort Hood, in-country commercial circuits and leased T1 circuits for reachback connectivity – established a network consisting of four node centers, one Modular Transportable Communications System, one large extension node, 13 small extension nodes and two super-high-frequency tactical-satellite terminals. This communications network linked into the theater network 1st Signal Brigade installed.
The network supported Army Tactical Command and Control System and Global Command and Control Systems-Korea to III Corps’ TAC CP in Korea and III Corps’ main CP at Fort Hood to provide the warfighter with the theater’s common operating picture. A videoteleconferencing network was established which included the commander in chief’s CP, III Corps’ TAC and main CPs, 2d Infantry Division’s TAC CP in Korea and 101st Airborne Division’s TAC CP at Fort Campbell, Ky.
Other units involved in the exercise included 3d Armored Calvary Regiment and 25th Infantry Division.
Because of the complexity in engineering T1 and in-country commercial circuits, 3d Signal Brigade’s network technicians were "fully engaged." CW2 Curtis Newkirk from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3d Signal Brigade, commented, "It was a tremendous coordination effort on everyone’s part to complete the complex communications network."
Although the III Corps commander was forward-deployed, the brigade requirement for reliable command and control of the network within the continental United States remained. It was imperative that the brigade managed all Signal assets, including VTC, from the brigade systems control at Fort Hood. Through the collective support and teamwork of all units involved, the brigade was successful with providing the corps commander, his staff and task-force commanders with flexible and reliable C2 communications.
The next exercise in the series, Phantom Lifeline, was 13th COSCOM’s annual deployment exercise designed to test the unit’s ability to deploy the corps’ assets via air, rail and sea. Elements of 57th Signal Battalion deployed with COSCOM units to the Fort Hood airfield, to rail outload facilities and to COSCOM’s logistical-support area at Camp Bullis, Texas, as well as to the ports of Beaumont and Corpus Christi in southern Texas, to provide communications support.
The exercise involved more than 4,700 soldiers, 1,500 vehicles and associated equipment, and 600 miles of road convoy. The 57th Signal Battalion established an extensive MSE network at Camp Bullis, located 120 miles south of Fort Hood, to support COSCOM’s LSA. The battalion also used tropospheric scatter from 313th Signal Company to extend the network back to the Fort Hood sustaining base.
The Camp Bullis MSE network was eventually integrated into the Phantom Runner network when both these exercises overlapped. Once Phantom Lifeline concluded, 57th Signal Battalion’s elements redeployed to Fort Hood, where they linked up with 3d Signal Brigade and participated in the corps river-crossing exercise.
The III Corps FTX Phantom Runner involved the movement of all corps and major subordinate command CPs from tactical-assembly areas located at Camp Bowie in northwest Texas to attack positions on Fort Hood. Unlike simulation-driven exercises, Phantom Runner provided units with the opportunity to conduct actual movements and river-crossing operations. All three corps CPs – as well as 1st Cavalry Division’s TAC, main and rear CPs; 4th Infantry Division’s TAC CP; and 13th COSCOM, 31st Air Defense Artillery, 89th Military Police Brigade, 64th Corps Support Group, 3d Signal Brigade, 13th Signal Battalion and 124th Signal Battalion – moved in various directions from northern, central and southern Texas to conduct the river-crossing operation on Fort Hood’s Belton Lake.
|III Corps Signal troops 'test the waters' of Fort Hood's Belton Lake during Phantom Runner, a river-crossing exercise.|
Significant geographical separation and several variations of legacy and new Signal equipment were two major challenges 3d Signal Brigade encountered. The exercise involved extensive use of single-channel TACSAT and Single-Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System FM communications, tropo, MSE remote-access units and ground-mobile-forces SHF satellite. The exercise represented the first time legacy MSE and asynchronous-transfer-mode-enhanced MSE were fully integrated into a corps network. The Phantom Runner network included assets from all five corps Signal battalions and involved 27 major signal-assemblage displacements, which kept the brigade’s systems control busy reconfiguring the network with MSE-channel reassignments to ensure reliable data and videoteleconferencing paths.
"The different Signal units working together to form one solid network was a great learning experience in itself," said MAJ Linda Jantzen, the brigade’s S-3 operations officer. "For instance, 124th Signal Battalion uses different switching and transmission technology than the brigade, and this represented new challenges for MSE ATM and legacy equipment to interact correctly."
In all, the network – spread out over several hundred square miles – consisted of 17 NCs, three LENs and 39 SENs – interconnected via SHF satellite, tropo and T1 leased commercial circuits. The exercise deployed 1,054 Signal soldiers and 486 prime movers and associated equipment.
The brigade SYSCON’s No. 1 priority was maintaining reliable connectivity for the corps commander’s VTC battle-update brief sessions. VTC was also used extensively as a collaborative-planning tool for all stages of the battle. Using the new integrated-systems control mitigated many of the technical network-management and control issues.
After the river-crossing exercise ended, Signal assets quickly transitioned to support Phantom Destroyer, the next exercise in the series.
Phantom Destroyer, a III Corps CPX, served as the warfighter ramp-up exercise for III Corps and 4th Infantry Division. One of the primary training objectives the corps commander established for the exercise was displacement of every corps and major subordinate CP at least once during the exercise.
After an extensive simulation exercise to test router, simulation Army Battle-Command System and tactical local-area network system computers, the corps executed a Battle Command Training Program-controlled warfighter ramp-up. The operation’s success was attributed to the rigorous SIMEX, since more than 800 automation systems and user terminals were used in the exercise.
Major participants in this exercise were the III Corps TAC, main and rear CPs; 4th Infantry Division TAC and main CPs; 1st and 3d brigade combat teams from 4th Infantry Division; and 1st Cavalry Division’s main CPs. Other units deployed to Fort Hood and operated response cells from the Battle Simulation Center. Among these were 6th Cavalry Brigade and Third Republic of Korea Army from Korea; 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Carson, Colo.; and 172d Separate Infantry Brigade from Alaska.
Close coordination between G-6 and S-6 staffs proved crucial in ensuring automation and switching databases were aligned to support the multi-unit exercise structure.
The greatest Signal challenge facing the brigade during Phantom Destroyer was maintaining effective and reliable C2 communications during the ambitious CP displacement timeline. The Signal brigade and all corps Signal battalion SYSCONs remained extremely busy managing and reconfiguring the network to ensure continuous tactical communications, including VTC.
Three main VTC multipoint control units were used to integrate 11 VTC sites. In all, 57th and 16th Signal Battalions, along with 124th and 13th Signal Battalions, integrated a network of 11 NCs, 41 SENs, four LENs and five SHF multichannel satellite terminals, as well as 340 ATCCS Version 4.3 and 180 ATTCS Version 6.1 terminal devices.
"TAC setup went from six hours to four hours," commented SPC Michael Kidd, a VTC operator for III Corps’ TAC. "During the previous warfighter, I was new and just learning, but by Phantom Destroyer, I and SPC John Spooner had progressed to becoming the points of contact for anything to do with VTC."
The last exercise in the five-month series was Phantom Fighter, 4th Infantry Division’s warfighter exercise. Signal assets from both 124th Signal Battalion and 3d Signal Brigade were required to support response cells in Fort Hood’s Battle Simulation Center as well as III Corps and 4th Infantry Division CPs in the field. The network required seven NCs, three LENs and 33 SENs.
The 4th Infantry Division displaced all division and BCT CPs at least once during the exercise, requiring Signaleers to quickly re-establish voice, data and VTC links. Also, 4th Infantry Division successfully used both serial and Internet protocol-based battlefield VTC – a first – throughout the exercise. Overall, it was a very successful warfighter exercise for 4th Infantry Division.
"The Phantom series of exercises presented an excellent opportunity to validate our mission-essential task list and our ability to effectively support the warfighter," said COL Dennis Via, 3d Signal Brigade commander. "Our success stemmed from the fact that we focused on our soldiers at every level, and we approached each mission as a total Signal team effort."
In this highly digital age, technology continues to advance the Signaleer’s ability to provide exceptional CIS support to the warfighter. As III Corps continues forging the path to become the first digitized corps, 3d Signal Brigade will continue to play a prominent role as the "voice of the Phantom Warriors." Phantom 2000 served as a dress rehearsal of what’s yet to come.
1LT Stallings is 3d Signal Brigade’s assistant S-1.
by Anthony Ricchiazzi
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. – Technicians here carried out a unique modification of Firefinder radars for the Pennsylvania National Guard.
Depot personnel upgraded three AN/TPQ-36 (V)5 Firefinders to the (V)8 version, something that’s never been done in one step, according to James LoPresti, chief of the Firefinder Division, Surveillance Systems Directorate here.
The upgrade increases detection range and target throughput, greatly improves operator environment and enables Firefinder to communicate on the digitized battlefield.
Tobyhanna fabricated the cables, control boxes, brackets and hardware for the antenna modification. Northrup Grumman provided the new (V)8 shelter, and Tobyhanna integrated it with the humvee and antenna trailer group.
"Normally the upgrades go from (V)5 to (V)7 to (V)8, but in this case, funds were available to the National Guard to go directly to (V)8," LoPresti explained.
There are two types of Firefinder, TPQ-36 and TPQ-37. Both systems automatically locate the firing position of hostile mortars, artillery, rockets and small arms by backplotting the trajectory of rounds. The TPQ-36, which consists of a humvee-mounted shelter and an antenna on a trailer, has a shorter range than the TPQ-37.
|Joe McCafferty, an electronics mechanic in Tobyhanna Army Depot's Surveillance Systems Directorate, aligns the Modular Azimuth Positioning System of an AN/TPQ-36 Firefinder antenna for testing.|
"The upgrade involves a lot of modifications to the entire system," LoPresti said. "Even the trailer chassis is swapped out for a newer version and is modified so it has a leveling jack in the front and two in the back."
Each TPQ-36 took about two weeks to complete.
Mr. Ricchiazzi is a public-affairs specialist with Tobyhanna’s public-affairs office.
by Gerry Gilmore
WASHINGTON – Recruit-attrition rates are dropping across the services, thanks to revamped training policies and to programs that try to prepare enlistees for the rigors of basic training before they ship out.
All the services report increased use of delayed-entry programs in recent years. DEPs acclimate recruits, enhance their performance and decrease washouts.
Defense Department officials keenly watch recruit-attrition numbers, especially since the cost of recruiting new servicemembers averages about $11,000 each – some $3,000 more than just a few years ago, said Navy Cmdr. Yvette BrownWahler, director for recruiting plans, office of the defense secretary.
Combined with an average cost of initial-entry training at $35,000, DoD’s investment in military-recruit accessions and training is enormous since more than 200,000 of America’s youth are recruited for active military service each year, she added.
In addition to DEP’s success, DoD also attributes the drop in recruit-attrition rates to modified basic-training programs across the services, BrownWahler said, coupled with "a renewed emphasis by drill instructors to imbue soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines with a positive attitude in preparing them to be a part of the service team."
Army officials said recruit attrition has dropped from 19.7 percent in 1998 to around 13.6 percent today. Recruits who successfully complete DEP programs have proven to be more likely to complete IET, an Army Recruiting Command official said.
Army officials also remarked that drill instructors want recruits to meet basic-training standards and won’t let recruits give up on themselves. The Army’s New Start program, for example, provides more training for recruits who fail to meet standards after remedial training.
"Given more time," recruits in New Start "are able to complete training and become productive soldiers," according to Army documents.
Mr. Gilmore writes for American Forces Press Service.
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