By Capt. Kurt Van Slooten, 1st Signal Brigade PAOApril 14, 2014
USAG HUMPHREYS, South Korea -- During her trip to Korea, U.S. Pacific Command's lead communicator, Rear Adm. Nancy A. Norton, visited USAG Humphreys to assess the progress of the construction of the new Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) facilities and infrastructure for the troop movement into USAG Humphreys.
Norton was given an aerial overview of the construction zone outside the fence at USAG Humphreys before touring family housing, receiving briefings focused on C4I support of the Yongsan Relocation Plan and Land Partnership Plan and seeing the construction site of the communications center that will support communications for the new facilities.
"In 2002, the Land Partnership Plan began as a way for the U.S. to reduce its footprint in the north." Col. Richard J. Turner, U.S. Chairman, C4I Joint Working Group and Chief, Task Force Mercury. "This allows the Republic of Korea to take more control of the Joint Security Area and what we call Area I, which is the area north of Seoul. It is a U.S. led initiative to move those units south."
The Yongsan Relocation Project, a ROK lead initiative which started in 2004, is an effort to reclaim the land in Seoul, or what we call Area II, said Turner. These two plans are complementary to each other, so we decided we are really going to focus on moving the U.S. forces mainly to USAG Humphreys, with some forces moving further south to USAG Daegu, or Area IV. He also mentioned the agreement to build a new naval facility in Busan,as opposed to what was originally planned which was to make it part of the corps command headquarters on USAG Humphreys.
Turner said it is a unique situation for C4I to be done under a bilateral agreement. He explained that he works under a status of forces agreement committee joint working group for Maj. Gen. Paul E. Crandall, the U.S. Forces Korea Deputy Chief of Staff for Transformation. About two years ago, the joint working groups decided that to make the best C4I infrastructure possible, they would pool the C4I efforts together and have a single plan for the project rather than a hodgepodge of equipment that wouldn't function well together. Since this is the case, Turner continued, everything he does as it relates to the project he has to get agreement for with his ROK counterpart to ensure they are working in a conjunctive effort.
"It does take a little more time to make sure that they understand what we are doing and how we are sharing the load," said Turner.
Turner said that to make sure that both sides stay on schedule, the ROK and U.S. governments agreed to make contractors part of the program management consortium for the project that works with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Far East District and the ROK Ministry of National Defense.
CH2M HILL, one of the largest construction program management companies in the world, is the prime for the consortium working with Kunwon Engineering for the USAG Humphreys expansion.
Turner said the C4I team also working with Defense Information Systems Agency to make sure that they get some of the really complicated, intricate engineering pieces right and get them to standard, so if there is a hand-off that has to happen sometime in the near future, we won't have to re-engineer everything.
He explained U.S. is responsible for all the C4I installation work inside the new facilities, and the ROK is responsible for all the installation work outside the buildings.
The reason we melded together the effort and the money is because at the end when we turn over management of the communication infrastructure to the 1st Signal Brigade we didn't want to hand them that hodgepodge of different lines of equipment that would create a management nightmare, said Turner.
One of Norton's areas of concern was with the planned operational control shift and such a large movement of forces whether the C4I infrastructure was engineered to accommodate these changes.
Turner said that was one of the challenges that they faced, but he is confident that their plan, possibly with minor changes, will successfully provide C4I to the forces moving south and will support the eventual OPCON transfer.
Air Force Col. Karlton Johnson, senior communicator for USFK and director of USFK Cyber Center, who facilitated the visit and was a part of the briefing and tour, commented that, "Rear Admiral Norton's visit is both timely and meaningful. It truly highlights our commitment toward defending cyberspace within the Pacific region. The admiral's previous familiarity with Korea, matched with the knowledge she gained during her visit today, makes her an exceptional advocate for the command off-peninsula."
The ROK/U.S. Alliance is a strong and enduring relationship, said Johnson. PACOM's support to the combined efforts here will further solidify that partnership. Johnson affirmed that with Norton as a strategic partner, he is confident that the combined ROK/U.S. "Team Cyber" will be taken to the next level of operational excellence.
"The defense of cyberspace is clearly a team event," said Johnson. "Our strong partnership with PACOM is a force multiplier toward strengthening cyber security in concert with our Republic of Korea Partners."
The 1st Signal Brigade enables joint and combined command, control, communications, computers, and information management operations throughout Korea to support United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, United States Forces Korea, and Eighth Army's ability to lead, direct and maneuver available forces during armistice, crisis, or war.