5th Signal Command, BwCISCOM formalize partnership at signing ceremony

By Kimball Brown, 5th Signal CommandJune 2, 2015

5th Signal Command, BwCISCOM formalize partnership at signing ceremony
Brig. Gen. Dr. Michael Faerber, deputy commander of the Bundeswehr Communication and Information Systems Command, and Col. Jimmy L. Hall Jr., commander of 5th Signal Command and the U.S. Army Europe Chief Information Officer/G6, sign a German-U.S. in... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

WIESBADEN, Germany -- The U.S. Army's 5th Signal Command and the Bundeswehr Communication and Information Systems Command (BwCISCOM) established an Interoperability Cooperation Group and pledged a closer working relationship with the signing of a German-U.S. interoperability cooperation agreement May 27, 2015 at the 5th Signal Command headquarters on Clay Kaserne.

The agreement formalizes a cooperative relationship initiated last year to share best practices, conduct cross-training and develop interoperability between BwCISCOM and 5th Signal Command. Signing the agreement were Brig. Gen. Dr. Michael Faerber, BwCISCOM deputy commander, and Col. Jimmy L. Hall Jr., commander of 5th Signal Command and the U.S. Army Europe Chief Information Officer/G6.

Both Faerber and Hall emphasized the importance of the partnership in supporting USAREUR's Strong Europe campaign by building interoperability and enabling the Alliance.

"In training, as in battle, we must learn how to work together, and communication is the key to our interoperability," Hall said. "We can't do this alone."

According to the signed charter, the Interoperability Cooperation Group is designed to facilitate working-level interaction between the organizations and to synchronize operating procedures supporting multinational mission interoperability. The two organizations will also jointly explore cyber security awareness and training.

"This will certainly create a win-win situation and will be good for both sides," Faerber said of the partnership.

Faerber emphasized the working-level nature of the group and the value that technical experts from each organization would contribute to address common interests between the two commands.

Prior to signing the agreement, Faerber and Hall received an update briefing from Chief Warrant Officer 5 Eugene Gardner, 5th Signal Command's senior action officer in the cooperation group, who highlighted some of the past and ongoing cooperative efforts between the two commands. For example, 5th Signal Command participated in a BwCISCOM communications exercise known as Gelber Merkur (Yellow Mercury) in March, and German signal Soldiers are currently participating in the U.S. Army's exercise Combined Resolve IV. These efforts have been further strengthened by battalion-level partnerships formed since the fall of 2014 between the 102nd Signal Battalion and 282nd CIS Battalion, and the 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion and 383rd CIS Battalion.

Gardner said the cooperation group charter is a living document that will evolve as new challenges and opportunities for cooperation arise. Future efforts of the cooperation group will center around three main fields of cooperation: operations and exercise support, cross-training, and personnel exchanges. The group's charter also identifies NATO interoperability as the common framework for approaching cooperation.

Command Sergeant Major Harry Mercado, 5th Signal Command senior enlisted advisor, said the cooperation agreement will allow both commands to address the more technical and practical aspects of their relationship together.

"We are doing real work and building real capabilities for the Alliance," Mercado said.


5th Signal Command's mission is to build, operate and defend network capabilities to enable mission command and create tactical, operational, and strategic flexibility for Army, Joint and Multinational forces in the EUCOM and AFRICOM areas of responsibility.

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