NEC teaches Soldiers communication security safeguards
Pvt. Joshua Stevens, C Company, 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, receives over-the-shoulder instruction from Kelsi Jett, help desk intermediate, Network Enterprise Center, as part of a comprehensive training program that gives Soldiers an overview of information management and provides them with information to accomplish their mission.

FORT POLK, La. -- When Capt. John Starn, commander, C Company, 94th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, decided to provide the Soldiers in his command who hold military occupational specialty code 25B with advanced training, he knew where to start - Fort Polk's Network Enterprise Center.

"We wanted to expose our information technology Soldiers (25Bs) to more training than we could give them at company level," Starn said. "We wanted to develop them more at that 25B level. The NEC told us they could provide that training."

Ernest W. Codrey, Director/Chief Information Officer, Network Enterprise Center, said NEC replaced the Directorate of Information Management as part of a restructuring move by the Army Oct. 11, 2009. "We are responsible for every bit of communication that happens on this installation, from phone lines to computers to cable TV to Blackberries," Codrey said.

With today's overseas contingency operations, Codrey said it is important to safeguard information and provide effective means to access data - whether on the intranet or Internet.

"The training we can provide these Soldiers will greatly enhance their ability to perform their mission," he said. "Protecting data is a big part of that mission."

Patsy Brown, interim project manager for CIBER Inc. and a contract worker at NEC, said the training would teach the Soldiers the workings of a network and how it all comes together.

"The network is the backbone of communications," Brown said. "Today, the majority of communications is through e-mail, and publications like training manuals and pamphlets are now online."

When the training is completed, Brown said the Soldiers would be able set up firewalls and security for their unit.

"This training gives Soldiers a better overview of how things come together and provides them with the information they might need to accomplish their mission," she said. "IT pros will sit alongside the Soldier and train them on what we do locally. We start them in the data center then move to the network center."

Pvt. Joshua Stevens was the first C Company Soldier to attend the training.
"My commander wanted me to know the different aspects of the IT world," he said. "My job is to make sure we have access to other tools, such as satellites, the Internet - both secure and nonsecure - and any other type of communication."
Stevens said the training he has received has been beneficial. "It gave me a lot of insight and put the puzzle pieces in place after my advanced individual training," Stevens said. "I feel like I can do my job better now."

Brown said the plan is to train two Soldiers.
"After the first two, we'll get with Captain Starnes and reevaluate to see if we need to provide further training, or train more Soldiers," she said.

Codrey said the training provided by personnel at NEC would benefit any type of unit.
"No one, no unit can survive today without computers," he said. "It's critical that we continue to modernize and upgrade our networks so that we can convey not only the installation, but also the Joint Readiness Training Center into the 21st Century."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16