Gear in place for Afghanistan surge
August 13, 2009
FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. - In a press release earlier this year from the White House, President Barack Obama made a commitment to send additional troops to Afghanistan. He stated that the "increase is necessary to stabilize a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. ..."
Initially, it was thought as many as 30,000 additional troops might be deployed to Afghanistan - two or three brigades' worth. Whatever the final number turns out to be, Warfighters will benefit from enhanced Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4) capabilities.
Those capabilities due to the strategic communications infrastructure provided at the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Headquarters in Kabul by the Product Manager, Defense Wide Transmission Systems (PM DWTS), which is part of the Defense Communications and Army Transmission Systems (DCATS) Project Office of the Program Executive Office, Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS).
U.S. Army Information Systems Engineering Command (USAISEC) provided independent Government engineering validation to PM DWTS for their contract integrators. They reviewed designs and workmanship; provided high level System Designs and Conceptual Designs, performed Engineering Validation/Quality Control (QC) and performed Systems Acceptance Tests of C4 systems, and other critical C4 infrastructure being implemented in theater.
USAISEC engineered to industry and military standards and provided quality assurance and quality control of applicable standards during the engineering, construction, and integration phases of this project. According to Bryan Kleese, Team Lead, his team of engineers and senior technicians provided matrix support to the ISAF Headquarters' project and supported the project leaders from PM DWTS.
The team received engineering and technical support from Telecommunications Specialist Joe Medarac, and C. C. Caywood, an electrician engineer, subject matter expert for power and grounding. The USAISEC Team also regularly coordinated with the engineering team supporting PM Defense Communications Systems - Southwest Asia, which is PM DWTS's sister PM that provides Data and Voice systems engineering for post, camps, and stations.
The PM Defense Communications Systems - Southwest Asia engineers coordinated with Jose Olivares (Data Systems Engineering); Robert Mayfield (Outside Plant Engineering); and Randy Kuhn (Voice Systems Engineering).
David Short is the current USAISEC project leader/field engineer supporting Kleese on the ground in Afghanistan. Short has been deployed in Kabul since January 2009. He is scheduled to remain in theater for a period of six months. Short has been conducting numerous site surveys in Afghanistan to prepare for establishing Command, Control, Communications and Computers facilities in support of the anticipated influx of Soldiers.
Larry Woodhall has been appointed as the project leader/field engineer supporting Kleese in Kuwait. He is currently going through the process of initiating a follow-on contract to provide on-site engineering support to the PM in Kuwait. At ISAF Headquarters, PM DWTS' Afghanistan Team, transformed an Area Distribution Node into a full-blown Technical Control Facility (TCF) that supports thousands of Warfighters.
The team was given only six months to complete the project, which started in January 2008, and was required by no later than June 31, 2008. The installation of all TCF systems inside the C4 building was completed by June 31, 2008 on schedule. USAISEC assisted the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Command in cutting over all circuits from the old TCF on ISAF to the new TCF on ISAF in July and August 2008.
The microwave radio systems were installed on the tower at ISAF Headquarters (HQs) in August 2008 for an anticipated link between ISAF HQs and the New Kabul Compound (NKC) Main Communications Facility (MCF). USAISEC had to make adjustments to the height of the towers at the ISAF in February after the radio link was established between the ISAF and NKC because an obstacle was installed on top of a building between the two sites interfering with the Line of Site.
The testing for the radio link after adjusting the antenna heights was completed in March. PM Defense Communications Systems Southwest Asia is currently in the process of delivering the Top Level Architecture (TLA) stack in the second floor of this facility. The Deployed KU-Band Earth Terminal was installed and tested in October 2008; however, the circuits cannot be cutover to the ISAF Headquarters Technical Control Facility until the TLA has been accepted and an Interim Approval to Operate has been completed by the Operations and Maintenance Command.
When the NKC data and voice services and the TLA for the ISAF HQ TCF are completed, the commands in Kabul, Afghanistan will have a robust network with which to distribute their local area data and voice traffic. The TCFs at both ISAF and NKC are equipped with wide area switches that provide transmission switching for the inter and intra theater satellite architecture.
They also provide an Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) switching capability for a new Metropolitan Area Network, which utilizes both Optical Carrier Level 3 Microwave radio transmission and fiber transmission systems. Network bandwidth between each camp in Kabul will be increased by over five times its current capabilities, increasing the speed and reliability of communications for the commands and Warfighters within Kabul.
(This article appeared in Spectra, the magazine of the CECOM Life Cycle Management Command. To access the full issue in PDF format, 3.2 megabytes, click on the link appearing in the Aca,!A"Related LinksAca,!A? box at the start of the article.)