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Behind-the-scenes civilian support

by Joal Watts

As a Communications-Electronics Command�s information technology, local-area network logistics-assistance representative, I provide technical and logistics assistance to units of the active Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard on data-networking devices. I supported Grecian Firebolt 2002 in troubleshooting and establishing units� data links through long-haul transmission (satellite) and switching networks. These data links included videoteleconferencing, secure Internet protocol routed network and non-secure Internet protocol routed network.

IT-LAN LARs work behind the scenes. As emergency-essential employees in the worldwide mobility program, IT-LAN LARs are assigned to various continental U.S. and overseas locations for one to five years. We may spend as much as 25 percent or more of our duty time on temporary-duty assignments. IT-LAN LARs must be physically and mentally prepared to deploy with supported units on training exercises and real-world military deployments.

IT-LAN LARs are called on to support military exercises and deployments because we know in depth the fundamentals for processing and forwarding data over intranets and LANs using different types of network devices. For instance, I bring to the profession years of experience in configuring and troubleshooting routers, catalyst switches and tactical network devices. This includes hardware, software, routed/routing protocols and LAN switching technologies. I�m also responsible for integrating commercial-off-the-shelf technology into the existing tactical data network, as well as providing assistance on network security issues.

IT-LAN LARs must have extensive knowledge of computer-operation systems and be able to load and upgrade operating systems, utility and applications software. We also must be proficient in Transmission-Control Protocol/Internet protocol and other networking protocols to isolate faults affecting operation of the LAN and associated devices.

The behind-the-scenes civilian support of the IT-LAN LAR (myself); the LHT LARs at Fort A.P. Hill, Va., and in Puerto Rico (Jerry Hill and Ray Rowe, respectively); and the switching LARs at Fort Dix, N.J., Fort Meade, Md., and in Puerto Rico (Andy Jacobs, Bob Conley and Fred Andrews, respectively) contributed to GF �02�s overall success. Other LAR support to GF �02 included switch master technicians Mike Benson at Fort Meade; Kevin Wright, Fort Devens, Mass.; and Mike Roddy, Camp Guernsey, Wyo., and Camp Rapid, S.D. John Loosli served as the power/environmental LAR at Fort Meade; George Kosut as the LHT master tech at Fort Gordon, Ga.; and Pete Cox as the switch/troposcatter LAR at Camp Parks, Calif.

Mr. Watts is the IT-LAN LAR for CECOM.

Acronym QuickScan
CECOM � Communications-Electronics Command
IT � information technology
LAN � local-area networks
LAR � logistics-assistance representative
LHT � long-haul transmission

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