Fort Jackson NEC wins national award
August 16, 2012
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- The Network Enterprise Center at Fort Jackson has been named best medium-sized NEC in the 7th Signal Command, an accomplishment that recognizes the organization's expertise in operating, maintaining and defending the post's digital networks.
Network Enterprise Technology Command -- the highest command for signal units and NECs -- selects a "NEC of the Year" in three categories based on the number of customers served by the NEC. The three signal brigades in the continental United States select the best NEC in each category for their area of responsibility. Fort Jackson won "best-medium" NEC for the 93rd Signal Brigade, which encompasses the Eastern United States.
The Fort Jackson NEC next advanced to the 7th Signal Command competition, where the NECs from the three brigades competed against each other. Fort Jackson also won that award, earning the recognition as the best medium-sized NEC in the United States.
Tom Smart, area support director for Team 3 within the 93rd Signal Brigade, said the Fort Jackson NEC managed to improve its employee training rating during the previous year, despite being short-staffed.
"If you go in and get your car worked on, you'd hope they'd have the proper certification so they know what they're doing," he said. "It's a way to know they're certified, competent and know how to do what they do."
Smart said the challenge in getting NEC staff members additional certification is that training pulls employees away from regular duties.
"Even though they're currently short-staffed, they still have to take time away from work to take those tests and get certified," Smart said. "You lose part of your workforce to get them certified so they can be proficient in what they're doing."
The Fort Jackson NEC also received the 2011 Palmetto Pillar award from the S.C. Chamber of Commerce, which Smart said played a role in its selection as Best medium-sized Network Enterprise Center.
"It's the first time we've ever been recognized at Fort Jackson," said Marcus Good, chief of the Information Technology System Support Division. "It validates all of the work we've put forward the past couple of years. We're challenged as far as resources go, so it forces us to do things smarter. The award is a way to evaluate how we're doing."
Fort Jackson's NEC will compete next at the Network Enterprise Technology Command global level, the results of which will be announced later in August, Good said.
"I am very pleased to see the Fort Jackson NEC recognized by the 7th Signal Command as the NEC of the year for 2012," said Scott Nahrwold, Fort Jackson deputy garrison commander. "I have always been impressed with the level of support provided to the USAG, and offer my most sincere congratulations for a truly outstanding performance."
Good said the Fort Jackson NEC has devoted a lot of recent energy to a concept called "virtualization."
"We're taking physical equipment and virtualizing it, which means we're putting it in a logical space as opposed to a physical space," he said.
For example, instead of having one computer server taking up space at one location, they are now housing multiple servers in the same amount of space. He said it reduces the NEC's "footprint" and lowers administrative and utility expenses.
"This is our first award and we definitely want to use this to push us forward," Good said. "We've come a long way on Fort Jackson and hopefully our customers notice that. The reason we're here is to make our customers' missions successful."