by MAJ Stephen Wren
FORT RICHARDSON, Alaska – She had only served in 59th Signal Battalion eight months when MSG Catherine Bridge made a name for herself in May. Bridge was awarded the Defense Message System User of the Year Award at the DMS conference at Virginia Beach, Va.
Bridge, an information-systems operator-analyst, arrived at the 59th Signal Battalion S-3 section in September 2000 and was immediately assigned as project officer for all of DMS in Alaska.
"Her impact was immediately felt throughout U.S. Army Alaska by the outstanding support provided to the USARAK staff," said Jerry Tanabe, 516th Signal Brigade’s DMS project manager. "She personally made sure all users in the command were comfortable using DMS to receive, open and send digitally signed and encrypted email.
"Bridge is dedicated and gets the job done in a timely manner, with little or no guidance," Tanabe noted. "She consistently seeks to learn the latest information about the DMS program. For instance, she just graduated from the 30-day DMS administrators’ training course at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., Sept. 7."
Asked what contributed to her success, Bridge said, "I know DMS can be somewhat complicated for the average user, so I take the time to explain it to him or her. I treat our customers with same service I would want to receive if I needed help with something."
Bridge’s accomplishments aren’t only with DMS. She also is the public-key-infrastructure officer for USARAK.
"Bridge quickly demonstrated her dedicated support by having the USARAK staff fully operational with their PKI accounts – the first in U.S. Army Pacific," said her supervisor, MAJ Brian Owen, battalion S-3 officer.
MAJ Wren is assigned to 59th Signal Battalion.
by SFC Keith Sanchez
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii – The Defense Information Systems Agency-Pacific selected 30th Signal Battalion systems administrator SPC Jarod Weatherford as the Defense Message System System Administrator of the Year in June.
Upon his assignment to the 30th in March 1999, Weatherford was immediately selected to serve as a DMS system administrator for the Fort Shafter local-control center.
"His administration of DMS servers and equipment has been instrumental in the successful transition from Automated Digital Network to DMS," noted Jerry Tanabe, DMS project manager, 516th Signal Brigade.
LTC Rich Volz, 30th Signal Battalion’s commander, presented the award to Weatherford at a ceremony in August, explaining Weatherford was delayed in receiving his award because of his volunteer deployment to support 25th Infantry Division (Light) during its Cobra Gold exercise and deployment to Thailand.
"Weatherford continues to serve as a DMS system administrator and is one of 30th Signal Battalion’s resident DMS experts," said Volz.
SFC Sanchez is assigned to 30th Signal Battalion.
by Stephen Larsen
FORT MONMOUTH, N.J. – E.C. "Pete" Aldridge, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, presented the prestigious David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award for Fiscal Year 2000 to the Army Small Computer Program as part of the Defense Department’s Acquisition and Logistics Reform Week 2001 kick-off ceremony.
Olga Lawrence, ASCP’s chief, accepted the award on the ASCP team’s behalf.
ASCP, part of the Communications-Electronics Command’s systems-management center, won the award for negotiating a series of software enterprise agreements, leveraging the Army’s and DoD’s buying power to carve out discounted prices of 30 percent to 98 percent less than what customers would pay using General Services Administration schedules. According to Lawrence, software enterprise agreements managed by the Army have already racked up cost avoidances and savings of $954 million over the last three years, with most of the cost avoidance and savings realized in FYs 2000 and 2001.
According to Adelia Wardle, ASCP product leader and team leader for enterprise agreements, ASCP maintains a database of who in the Army owns what software licenses – and, through their counterpart software product managers in the other services, of who in DoD owns what software licenses.
"We’ve had a lot of cases," said Wardle, "where a customer may call me, saying ‘I’m looking at buying, as an example, back-office software, for an organization, and I need 700 copies of it.’ Thanks to our database, I can say, ‘Wait a minute, I know your organization already bought into the enterprise agreement which includes back-office software. Let me tell you who purchased.’"
Wardle added, though, that thanks to the enterprise agreements, it doesn’t matter if a customer is buying one or 700 copies of software. "If you come in and you only need one of those items," said Wardle, "you’re going to get that same 60 percent or 70 percent discount – and in some cases, we’ve gotten all the way up to 98 percent off GSA for that item."
Vera Davis, contracting officer with CECOM’s acquisition center in Washington, said that an added benefit to customers is that, thanks a streamlined acquisition approach, the team can get enterprise agreements in place in one month or less – chopping three months off the time needed in the past.
Among the enterprise agreements managed by the Army and open to the Army only are with Microsoft, Tivoli enterprise-management software, Parametrics Technology Corporation Engineering/Mechanical Design software agreement and Jet Form.
Among the Army enterprise agreements open DoD-wide are Computer Associates enterprise-management software, Oracle (database), Informix (database), Sybase and BP-win/Erwin Modeling Tools.
For a complete list of software enterprise agreements and products available through ASCP, check their website at http://pmscp.monmouth.army.mil/enterprise/DoD_Army_Agreements.htm, or http://www.don-imit.navy.mil/esi. Or, call ASCP at (888) 232-4405.
Mr. Larsen is CECOM SMC’s public-affairs officer.
WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced Oct. 2 that he has designated Secretary of the Army Thomas White as the Defense Department’s executive agent for all homeland-security matters.
"In the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, homeland security has emerged as a paramount national priority," White said. "As DoD’s executive agent for homeland security, I look forward to working closely with Gov. Tom Ridge as he leads this vital effort."
White became the 18th secretary of the Army May 31. Prior to his appointment, he served as vice chairman of Enron Energy Services. White is a retired Army brigadier general.
"Since the earliest days of our nation, the Army – both active and reserve – has engaged in homeland security," White said. "So the Army brings enormous experience, talent and capabilities to the effort."
by LTC Robert McKenzie III
FORT BELVOIR, Va. – Communications-Electronics Command awarded a firm-fixed-price-requirements contract Sept. 7 to Dewey Electronics Corp. of Oakland, N.J., to produce some 7,000 two-kilowatt mobile tactical generator sets.
An indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract that supports the Army’s rebuy program, the contract has an estimated cumulative value of about $35 million over 10 years. Dewey has been producing the same MTG under a previous contract awarded in August 1996.
The two-kW MTG is a skid-mounted, man-portable diesel fueled set in either a 60-Hz/120-volts alternating-current configuration or a 28-volt direct-current configuration. These small generators provide electricity to power a variety of combat and support systems. They replace existing overaged military-standard gasoline and diesel generator sets with modernized diesel sets that increase safety and reliability while reducing size, weight and fuel consumption.
The contract is managed by the project manager for mobile electric power here. PM-MEP is part of the Fort Monmouth, N.J.-headquartered CECOM systems-management center and manages a coordinated interservice effort to develop, acquire and support DoD’s MEP generators. This includes establishing and maintaining a DoD standard family of MEP sources from 0.5-kW portable generators to 920-kW prime-power generating systems.
LTC McKenzie is the PM-MEP at CECOM’s SMC.
by Richard Johnston
MANNHEIM, Germany – The Communications-Electronics Command systems-management center’s project manager for defense communications and Army switched systems successfully cut over three remote-switching units in the Mannheim area in August, making that switch cluster the first in the Defense Information Systems-Europe to employ Defense Information Systems Agency-certified RSUs.
The cutovers were completed at Sullivan Barracks Aug. 3, Spinelli Barracks Aug. 10 and Taylor Barracks Aug. 24.
These RSUs provide voice and data service to about 2,000 users and direct access to the public network. The RSUs will be used in conjunction with multifunction and end-office switches in a network of some 75 Army switches located throughout Europe.
Using RSUs is expected to save millions of dollars over the life of the network, according to officials of PM-DCASS’ assistant project manager for European switched systems, because the RSUs cost less to purchase than traditional end-office switches and because software upgrades will cost less. Only the host switch will require principal software upgrades vs. every local switch, as required previously.
Using RSUs extends subscriber services and features of the host switch to remote subscribers, including military-unique features such as multilevel precedence and preemption. If connectivity to the supporting host switch is lost – for example, due to transmission outages – the RSU continues in a stand-alone mode to provide most common subscriber services for local calls as well as access to the public-switched telephone network.
Other major features and capabilities of the RSUs include survivability at three levels; the ability to handle up to 50,000 subscribers; three-way calling; call waiting; call transfer; and 911/E911 service.
Mr. Johnston is the contracting officer with the European telephone system project for PM-DCASS. He has been employed by the U.S. government for 32 years.
by Jim Garamone
WASHINGTON – The size of the U.S. military will remain about the same, but portions will be reconfigured to combat asymmetrical threats, according to the Quadrennial Defense Review released to Congress Sept. 30.
A senior defense official said the QDR reinforces the need to transform the military.
The report, available at www.defenselink.mil/pubs/qdr2001.pdf, is a 65-page blueprint for where the U.S. military needs to go to confront 21st-century threats.
"The report was animated in large measure by the notion that, while it’s possible for us to imagine how we might be confronted with danger in the future, it wasn’t always clear from where it would come or in what manner the threats would materialize," the official said.
The report envisions a strategy less tied to countering threats from specific countries or groups than countering the threats themselves. In other words, the United States needs different military capabilities. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said America knew where threats were coming from during the Cold War. Today, this is less certain. The country needs capabilities to cover a broad range of threats from the conventional to asymmetrical.
The official said that even before the events of Sept. 11, the QDR had concluded that terrorism, chemical and biological weapons, cyberattacks and missile threats would transform the strategic landscape.
"Adversaries are acquiring such systems, and they’ve designed those systems and their acquisition to circumvent our conventional military capabilities," he said. "It’s not a surprise we were attacked in a way that our conventional military forces weren’t designed to defend against at that moment."
The report concludes the United States should anticipate and be prepared to deal with asymmetrical threats to the United States, U.S. allies and U.S. troops deployed abroad.
The QDR also recommends changing the U.S. military’s force-sizing concept of having enough capabilities to fight and win two near-simultaneous major regional contingencies. The new concept envisions, first, the capabilities to defend the United States, and second, the ability to fight two contingencies at the same time.
The difference is the United States would be able to win one contingency decisively while repelling aggression in the other. The official said this portion of the force-sizing concept gives the United States the ability to "deter forward."
A final piece of sizing is having a U.S. military that’s large enough to conduct small-scale contingencies.
Where soldiers will be stationed will also change. The QDR reaffirms America’s commitment to Europe, but recommends shifting troops as needed to other areas.
The report didn’t list weapon systems or platforms that should be scrapped or discontinued. It didn’t tell the services how to manage their forces.
"The guidance we were given was that we weren’t going to do a budget-driven or platform-dominated look," the defense official said. "What the secretary wanted, and what the president asked for, was a strategic perspective on what it is we wanted to do."
The report, coupled with the secretary’s fiscal guidance and defense-planning guidance, lays the foundation for reviewing current and proposed programs, the official said. With that basis, the Defense Department can judge which programs to continue, if any, and how, he added.
Other "transformational" aspects that U.S. strategy will stress include protecting the U.S. base of operations on tactical, operational and strategic levels; information operations; power-projection capabilities; space operations; and leveraging information technology.
The official said more work needs to be done to flesh out parts of the QDR. He specifically mentioned more work on the handling of the Reserve Components.
For more information, see the Oct. 1 background briefing on the QDR at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Oct2001/t10012001_t1001bck.html.
Mr. Garamone writes for American Forces Press Service.
by SSG Don Smith
FORT GORDON, Ga. – About 18 soldiers from 93d Signal Brigade here went on an unusual deployment June 25-July 3.
The deployment to Fort Knox, Ky., dubbed Task Force Bluegrass, sent the soldiers and various pieces of Signal equipment to Camp Challenge, a Reserve Officer Training Corps summer camp. During the camp, they participated in a branch-orientation program designed to expose cadets to a slice of military life as well as the realities of their branch choices.
"A lot of (the cadets) wanted to do aviation or armor or something until they got to us," said SSG Paul Morrow, a multichannel transmission-system section sergeant in 252d Signal Company. "We told them how the Signal Corps is on the cutting edge of what’s going on (electronically) in the civilian world. After that, a lot of them just wanted to know how to guarantee a Signal slot."
The brigade soldiers were joined by soldiers from 142d Signal Brigade in Alabama. They operated a tactical-satellite van and a small extension node.
"As far as distance and how we deployed, this was fairly typical," said SGT Matthew Doty, a TACSAT team chief with 29th Signal Battalion from Fort Lewis, Wash., a unit assigned to 142d. "The thing is, we don’t usually get to talk about what we do. Usually, we just have a training mission."
Although the intent of the exercise was to inform ROTC cadets about their options as Signal officers, 1LT Eric Petrowsky, the Headquarters Company, 63d Signal Battalion, executive officer, said the soldiers also learned something.
"We went in there to tell them what we do," Petrowsky said. "Considering at the time there were three exercises going on and we had small groups of soldiers all over the country, we ended up getting a better appreciation of what we do."
Petrowsky said none of the exercise would have been possible without the battalion’s operations section. He said the section did a lot of preplanning that allowed the deploying soldiers to focus on their mission.
"There was a lot of pre-planning," Petrowsky said. "All we had to do was go and execute."
SSG Smith is 93d Signal Brigade’s public-affairs noncommissioned officer.
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. – Tobyhanna’s rapid-response capability has secured an Air Force unit’s link with the presidential communications network.
Technicians repaired and shipped a critical radio component that’s part of a network that provides communications support to the president and military, civilian and foreign officials via worldwide radio networks.
The 789th Communications Squadron at Andrews AFB, Md., requested assistance from Tobyhanna on the AN/FRC-173 microwave radio. The 789th provides command, control, communications and computer systems support not only for the president, but to customers in the National Capital Region and worldwide.
|Anthony Matriccino, an electronics mechanic in Tobyhanna Army Depot's Communications System Directorate, tests the receiver component of an AN/FRC-173 wideband radio.|
A receiver component in the backup radio had failed, risking the link among Andrews, the Brandywine and Davidsonville Air Force sites (both in Maryland) and the White House, said George Bellas, director of the depot’s Communications Systems Directorate.
The network is similar to the Digital European Backbone, which provides military commanders throughout Europe direct communication with each other. It operates using line-of-sight stations, but also uses satellites for worldwide transmissions. Tobyhanna has been repairing and maintaining both systems for 15 years.
Air Force 1LT David Bellas, 89th Communications Squadron, Andrews AFB, contributed to this article.
by CPT Kevin Bosch
FORT BUCKNER, Okinawa – In August I was given the honor of participating in the 6th Annual Welcome Marine Program. WMP introduces American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines to Japanese culture and allows Japanese citizens who don’t normally get to see or interact with Americans the opportunity to meet some of the foreigners living in their country.
In 1996, a group of concerned Japanese set up a program to bolster the image of U.S. Marines throughout Japan. There was a lot of negative publicity in the Japanese press following a young girl’s rape by a Marine and two naval corpsmen.
A reporter from Tokyo, Reiko Tamura, decided to go to Okinawa, meet some of the Marines stationed there and write a story about how horrible they were. When she got to Okinawa and met the Marines, she found them to be very nice and also saw how important what they were doing was to Japan.
Tamura decided that the press the Marines were receiving was false and that someone needed to show the positive effects of having the U.S. military stationed in Japan. Thus was born WMP, in which young enlisted Marines from Okinawa were taken to Tokyo to see a different part of Japan and to visit many of the cultural aspects of Japanese life. At the same time, many important persons from the Tokyo area were afforded the opportunity to meet with the Marines and see that they were not as bad as the press made them out to be.
Over the years, the program has evolved and has come to be considered a big tool in U.S.-Japanese relations. There are many important participants in the program, including former Prime Minister Mori, the past three Prime Ministers’ wives, the chief of the Tokyo Police Department, the director-general of the Defense Agency (General Nakatani) and other leaders.
This was the first year in which officers have participated in the program, the first time for participants from other than Okinawa, and the first time for services other than just Marines to participate. There were 36 officers from all the services from Okinawa, mainland Japan, Korea and the continental United States.
WMP was conducted over 10 days in late August. Most of the activities happened in the Tokyo area. The theme of the 6th WMP was "50 years of the U.S.-Japan Peace Treaty." There was a full agenda of activities planned out for us, and several lectures and group discussions on the relevance of the U.S. - Japan Peace Treaty in the 21st century.
The first activity planned for the group was a night climb of Mount Fuji. GEN Nakatani honored us by climbing the mountain with us. It was a great climb. The temperature gets cold during the middle of the night at 12,000 feet, and this caught many of us off guard, but it was well worth it to get to the summit of Mount Fuji and to view the sunrise from the top of the mountain.
All the participants were allowed to call home and talk to family or friends from atop Mount Fuji. After trekking down the mountain, we were taken to a hot-springs resort for a Japanese bath, and then were given a Japanese-style barbecue luncheon. The entire day was an experience I’ll never forget.
The rest of the week was a fast-paced tour of Tokyo. We toured the Imperial Palace, the bullet-train operations and the National Diet building, and were shown the Tokyo Metro Police Department’s martial-arts center, where we were given the chance to participate in kendo (a form of martial arts).
A typhoon arrived during WMP, but it was a small typhoon, and we were able to tour some museums in Tokyo by ourselves. We were taken to a Zen meditation temple in Kamakura, as well as several temples in the area, including the Great Buddha, which is an extremely large statue you can walk around inside of.
One of the more interesting tours we were given was of the Tsukiji Fish Market, which is one of the world’s largest. Every imaginable ocean creature from all over the world is for sale, and it’s available live, fresh or frozen.
The best experience of WMP was that we were given the opportunity to spend a day with a Japanese host family. Another WMP participant and I spent the evening and the following day with Kazuyo Seiyaku. It was very interesting spending the day with her and some of her nieces, and just talking about what they do.
In addition to the many tours, there were also several lectures, receptions and group discussions on the U.S.-Japan Peace Treaty. These were very interesting events, which gave the junior officers attending a greater appreciation of the role the United States plays in this region of the world, and particularly in Japan.
We were also able to meet and converse with many different players in the U.S.-Japan diplomatic relations. The assistant U.S. ambassador to Japan attended one of the receptions and read a letter from President George W. Bush, in which the president stated the importance of the U.S.-Japan Peace Treaty and how vital a role WMP played in the treaty’s success.
WMP was one of the most fun, interesting and enlightening experiences of my military career. It was great to see all of the sights around Tokyo, climbing Mount Fuji and the homestay. Just hanging out with officers from the other services was a real treat as well. If you are ever afforded the opportunity to attend WMP, I highly recommend you take advantage of the program.
CPT Bosch commands 405th Signal Company, 58th Signal Battalion.
by 1LT Anthony Jones
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii – Civilian employees of 30th Signal Battalion’s S-4 section volunteered to participate in the leadership-reaction course at Schofield Barracks June 1. The event was conducted to promote team-building and to foster unit cohesion.
Soldiers of the 30th who had previously taken the training supervised the day’s activities.
All participants said they enjoyed the course, and each took something a little different away from the experience. The training allowed everyone to learn something new about themselves as well as something new about their coworkers.
|Edwin Salvador walks a plank as LRC team members Gloria Gier, Jackie Look, Cindy Mori, Esther Ringor and SFC Jonathan Crocker (from left) wait their turn.|
For soldier training, LRC generally provides about 21 different missions/tasks. Of these, eight were chosen for the S-4 civilian event. The mission-selection criteria were based on the participants’ experience, physical limitations and the overall risk. The tasks were as mentally stimulating as they were physically challenging. It was up to the team leader to ensure his/her team was "working smarter and not harder."
All missions involved moving personnel and/or equipment from Point A to Point B within 20 minutes and abiding by certain specific restrictions. Some tasks were accomplished at heights of one to three feet and others as high as 10 feet above the ground.
LRC proved to be something new and exciting for everyone who participated. Many said they were surprised by the value this training afforded them and that they would gladly participate in similar training in the future.
Many soldiers and civilians perform their daily duties without noticing the affect their contributions have on their command’s overall mission accomplishment. Most of them don’t get the opportunity to lead or supervise multiple personnel. LRC provided the opportunity for everyone to lead and to focus on how important teamwork is to the overall accomplishment of any mission.
The military community has successfully conducted this training for many years, while civilian corporations pay significant sums of money for their employees to receive similar training.
1LT Jones is 30th Signal Battalion’s S-4 officer.
MERRIMACK, N.H. – Communications-Electronics Command awarded a contract to Codem Systems Inc. headquartered here to deliver 65 antenna-control unit modification kits to modernize the Army’s transportable satellite terminals.
The Trojan Spirit II program office originally awarded the contract to enable automated, "single-click satellite acquisition" for 2.4-meter and 6.1-meter terminals. The contract was later modified to also support the Marine Corps’ lightweight high-gain X-band antenna terminal.
Codem’s software and digital-based antenna controller automatically detects which terminal is connected to the system and dynamically adjusts software settings to control the antenna. John Gargasz, manager of Codem’s Antenna and Wireless Division, said, "With this flexible architecture, the Codem ACU modification kit provides a generic control solution to refurbish the Army’s existing inventory of transportable terminals and future triband/Ka-band terminals.
"The common antenna-control hardware architecture and software interface dramatically reduces the Army’s maintenance cost and training logistics while providing endusers with a simple, automated interface for satellite communications," Gargasz said. "The system includes the flexible antenna controller, servo drive unit, tracking receiver, Windows-based monitor and control software, as well as cable assemblies."
|Antenna that Codem modification kit would be used on.|
|Codem's antenna-control modification kit, including ACU, servodrive unit and accompanying software.|
Codem (www.codem.com) provides broadband wireless and wired communication solutions for commercial and government telecommunications customers throughout the world. For more than 10 years, the firm has provided a range of antenna-control systems, on-the-move pedestals, network-access products, spectrum-management systems, monitor-and-control systems and engineering services for a variety of applications. The company’s expertise also includes software-based digital-control systems, tactical-network interfaces, and radio geo-location and signal analysis.
Back issues on-line | "Most requested" articles | Article search | Subscriptions | Writer's guide
Army Communicator is part of Regimental Division, a division of Office Chief of Signal.