5th Signal Command – The Voice of Europe for over 50 Years
What is it?
The 5th Signal Command, located in Mannheim, Germany, is the communication arm of United States Army, Europe/7th Army. It provides and defends integrated Theater, Joint and Combined global network operations, enabling battle command for Europe’s Warfighters. This support leverages the Global Information Grid to enable expeditionary and sanctuary communications capabilities for expeditionary and forward based forces employed on a range of missions supporting Theater Security Cooperation, Peace Stability Operations, and Command and Control for daily operational requirements throughout the European theater.
Headquarters, 5th Signal Command was constituted in the Regular Army and activated in Germany on July 1, 1974. The Command traces its original heritage to the U.S. Army Signal Command, Europe, organized under USAREUR General Order dated March 20, 1958, which consolidated military communications in the European Theater. The effort to meet the challenges of rapid growth in technology and communications prompted the birth of U.S. Army Strategic Communications Command in Washington, D.C., in March 1964. Its role was to manage the Army's portion of military global communications. A group of sub-commands evolved from USSTRATCOM, the first of which was STRATCOM-Europe. This unit evolved into 5th Signal Command as it is known today.
USAREUR/7th Army Headquarters provides operational control for 5th Signal Command, which consists of 2nd and 7th Signal Brigades.
2nd Signal Brigade maintains a forward deployed, trained and ready, Signal force, providing superior, robust, secure, and responsive strategic and operational base C2 communications. The brigade is currently organized into six Signal battalions and one civilian support group – 39th, 43rd, 52nd, 69th, 102nd, 509th and the 6981st. This brigade operates communication facilities in eight countries: England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Italy, Bosnia, and Kosovo. 2nd Signal Brigade is the single provider for all voice, data, and automation support for over one hundred units spread throughout Europe. On order, it extends communications and IT services to anywhere within EUCOM’s area of responsibility.
7th Signal Brigade is the tactical theater Signal brigade for the European theater and is responsible for providing expeditionary, command post centric command and control communications support to Army, Joint and Combined forces. The 7th Signal Brigade is also regularly called upon to provide forces in support of U.S. Central Command as part of the Army’s Force Generation pool. The brigade totals over 1000 Soldiers and consists of two subordinate Expeditionary Signal Battalions, the 44th and 72nd, currently headquartered in Mannheim.
The primary mission of the 7th Signal Brigade is to provide tactical communications support to the Warfighter, completing the connection from the front line to the Global Information Grid through the Landstuhl Regional Hub Node. As a Joint Network Node enabled, forward based strategic and deployable tactical extension of the Global Information Grid, 7th Signal Brigade engineers, installs, operates, maintains, and protects secure C2 communications to enable theater, joint, and combined forces across the full spectrum of military operations to include USAREUR, EUCOM, AFRICOM, CENTCOM, and NATO missions.
5th Signal Command’s Commanding General also serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff, G6/Chief Information Officer for USAREUR/7th Army, and General Officer Senior Mission Commander for multiple United States Army Garrisons in Europe.
What has the Army done?
5th Signal Command has been designated to lead the Signal Regiment in Europe, which consists of Signal forces and IT professionals dispersed throughout every major military unit and garrison in an area of operation that spans United States European Command’s 92 country area of responsibility. Together, the Signal Regiment provides communications and IT support to the EUCOM Headquarters, AFRICOM Headquarters, USAREUR Headquarters, the Installation Management Command - Europe, V Corps, 1st Armored Division, Southern European Task Force, 21st Theater Support Command, 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command, the U.S. Army Contracting Command - Europe, and various brigade combat teams and agencies assigned and operating throughout the EUCOM area of responsibility.
Its vision, ‘As the Premier Signal Command, fight and defend strategic and expeditionary Communications and Information Systems (CIS), enabling transparent, globally-integrated information dominance to all Warfighters,’ supports the enterprise transformation initiatives within the Europe.
The Army utilizes 5th Signal Command to provide reliable and robust communications support to joint and multinational training exercises throughout the EUCOM theater. These exercises range from small unit level simulation driven exercises up to Joint Task Force level exercises involving multiple nations, geographically separated, and complex computer assisted exercises.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The Army CIO/G6 has empowered 5th Signal Command to stand up the Army’s first Network Service Center - Regional (NSC-R), the Army’s newest NetOps construct, organizing all Signal core competencies into a serviceable, global unit. The NSC-R is the warfighter's communications and network enabler, providing consolidated C4IM support to all bases, posts, camps and stations, which includes transport, data processing, modeling and simulation, and Network Operations capabilities.
In conjunction with the Army CIO/G6, NETCOM, DISA and U.S. Army, Europe/7th Army, 5th Signal Command is leading the way in comprehensive IT enterprise maturation, reorganization, and proof of principle of the NSC-R. Once validated, Europe's NSC-R will serve as the model for the global transformation.
Why is this important to the Army?
5th Signal Command capabilities, centered in the newly developed NSC-R, are essential because they provide continuity of information services to the warfighter. The NSC-R incorporates TNOSC, STEP sites, enclaves in APCs, “regional G6/S6s” (theater strategic signal battalions) and the NWC on a global level. Through the NSC-R, a BCT from anywhere in the world can contact its respective NSC-R to transfer its services seamlessly to any other NSC-R, thus transparently supporting warfighters and units for any mission at any location. Ultimately, the service member will maintain a single e-mail identity no matter where in the world. Eventually this singular information construct will carry to phone numbers, logins, and all forms of electronic identity.
In addition to building the Network Service Center construct, 5th Signal Command is also currently overseeing the development, implementation and maturation of the, Network Warfare Center and its Cyber Threat Intelligence Cell, and multiple other enterprise-level network operations initiatives. These initiatives will significantly enhance and generate new joint and multi-national collaborative and communications capabilities as USAREUR continues its transformation to 7th Army.