April 16, 2010

Virginia Guard provides communication capability to Nuclear Summit security task force

By Sgt. Andrew H. Owen
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A team from the Virginia Army National Guard’s Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division along with Soldiers from the Hampton-based Company C, 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion provided communications support April 10-13 to the D.C. National Guard's task force assisting civilian authorities with security operations for the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C.

 

Virginia National Guard Soldiers from the Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division and the Hampton-based Company C, 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion provide communications support to the D.C. National Guard’s Joint Task Force 74 with the Joint Incident Site Communications Capability April 13 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Maj. Cotton Puryear, Virginia Guard Public Affairs) 

Please visit the Virginia Guard Flickr page for more photos.

Nine Virginia Soldiers were in the nation's capital using the Joint Incident Site Communications Capability to provide Internet access and telephone support to command and control elements for the approximately 170 Soldiers and Airmen of the Joint Task Force 74. Task force personnel from the D.C and Maryland Guard assisted with perimeter security as well as provided Civil Support Teams capable of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosives detection.

President Barack Obama hosted 43 heads of state and three heads of international organizations April 12-13 for the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit, the largest domestic summit since the founding of the United Nations.

The JISCC team from Virginia arrived April 10 and quickly began setting up their equipment which includes generators, servers, radios, laptops and a wide array of telephonic equipment. With the JISCC equipment they were able to rapidly provide the D.C. task force the ability to engage in inter-agency communication in a building provided to the Guard by the Department of Parks and Recreation to provide command and control of the operation, according to Maj. Derek Demby, Task Force 74 operations officer.

Without the JISCC onsite the task force would have been without communications and would have been forced to use the limited internet connections, and phone lines provided by the building which would have severely hampered the command and control of the operation. With the capabilities package provided by the Virginians, the task force was able to continue their daily operations from a remote location, according to Demby.

 

Sgt. 1st Class William Walker of the Virginia National Guard's Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division tests computer connectivity in the mobile command post vehicle that is part of the Joint Incident Site Communications Capability April 13 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Maj. Cotton Puryear, Virginia Guard Public Affairs) 

Please visit the Virginia Guard Flickr page for more photos.

“The JISCC has the capability to provide interoperability between agencies” said Maj. Tim Wine, 29th ID communications officer. “That’s the primary function of the radio side. We also provide the network support for this operation.”

“What we are doing, right here, right now, is providing a data link for their (JTF 74) computers and voice phones,” said Wine. “That’s our primary mission for the Joint Task 74’s headquarters.”  The JISCC team also provided redundant radio communications for the task force.

The Task Force commander was very pleased with how quickly the Virginia Guard was able to set up their equipment and begin providing email access and telephone service to the men and women working out of their operations center.

“We were really pleased with their setup and we were really appreciative of their efforts,” said Lt. Col. Anthony Jackson, Task Force 74 Commander. “They’ve been extremely helpful because they bring us connectivity to our remote location.”

 

Spc. Aaron Falknor of the Virginia National Guard's Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division tests the circuit breakers on the Joint Incident Site Communications Capability April 13 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs) 

Please visit the Virginia Guard Flickr page for more photos.

Thanks to the JISCC, the mission was able to continue along as scheduled. The Soldiers and Airmen were able to perform their duties as required due to the capabilities the Virginia team afforded the task force.

“The mission has been real fast-paced. We’ve been constantly moving and we’re doing really good,” said Demby. “Everyone looks at this as their duty, but they also look at this as a part of history.”

The system is unique in that is only manned and operated by the Air and Army National Guard. The Guard is the only agency with the JISCC, according to Spc. Kenneth Parker, a Virginia Guard Soldier who has been working with the system since 2006.

Each JISCC is a mobile set of commercial hardware and associated peripheral equipment designed to provide on-site and reach-back communications capabilities for enhanced command and control and share situational awareness among first responders, and with state and federal command authorities and centers.

Not only did the JISCC come equipped with the equipment to provide the information technology to the building, but they also came equipped with a full-size sport utility vehicle that has almost all the same capabilities as the stationary package.

The advance mobile command vehicle comes equipped with many of the same radios and phone configurations and is also able to gain access to the internet, according to Sgt. 1st Class William Walker, 29th ID communications noncommissioned officer in charge. The truck is designed to be able to respond to any incident in a moment’s notice and have connectivity available at the site within minutes of arrival.

“It’s a great piece of equipment,” said Walker. “It’s very reliable.”

Please visit the Virginia Guard Facebook page to see video about this event.

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