By Staff Sgt. Brian M. ClineJune 30, 2016
WIESBADEN, Germany -- U.S. Army Soldiers from 2nd Signal Brigade worked to enhance interoperability and build relationships with signal Soldiers from the Belgian 6th CIS Group during exercise GENESIX June 27-29, 2016 in Saint Hubert, Belgium.
GENESIX is a binational U.S.-Belgian signal exercise designed to test theories about the interoperability of equipment and operating procedures in order to build partner capacity and relationships between the two NATO Allies.
The 39th Signal Battalion, 2nd Signal Brigade and the Belgian 6 CIS Group are designated partner units, signing a declaration of partnership June 1-2 to formalize the relationship. Capt. Phillip Gilchrist of the 39th Signal Battalion said, "We have been working together and exploring technical challenges surrounding interoperability with the hope of integrating military communication systems."
After receiving a briefing on the capabilities of the Belgian Army's signal equipment, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Kevin Mcgill, a network technician in the 39th Signal Battalion, recognized that that the Belgians worked in the same signal space as the U.S. Army.
"I thought if we operated in the same space, maybe, just, maybe, our equipment might work together. After going over a lot of technical specs, I had a reasonable theory that (the exercise) could work," Mcgill said.
The concept of the GENESIX exercise was for both the 39th Signal Battalion and the 6th CIS Group to use each other's satellite equipment to "plug-in" to their own hub nodes to pass voice and data signals. The 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion (ESB) sent a Satellite Transportable Terminal (STT) and a team of highly-trained technicians from Grafenwoehr, Germany to assist the 39th Signal Battalion with set-up and troubleshooting during the exercise.
In the end, the Belgian 6th CIS Group was able to successfully pass data and voice through the U.S. Army STT, and the 39th Signal Battalion was able to use the Belgian satellite equipment to call the 2nd Signal Brigade commander in Wiesbaden on unsecure VoIP.
"This opens a whole new way for us to work together. We are basically writing the book on how we can interchange and interoperate with our Allies and partners," Mcgill said.
5th Signal Command (Theater) builds, operates and defends network capabilities to enable mission command and create tactical, operational and strategic flexibility for the Army, joint and multinational forces in the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command areas of responsibility.
2nd Signal Brigade builds, operates and defends Mission Command System and networks to support unified action anytime, anywhere.