By Mr. William B King (2nd Signal Brigade)June 16, 2015
WIESBADEN, Germany -- A team of Soldiers from the 102nd Signal Battalion participated in the Bundeswehr Communication and Information Systems Command's (BwCISCOM) SYSNET 1-15 exercise June 15-20, 2015 at the 282nd CIS Support Battalion headquarters in Kastellaun.
The purpose of the exercise, according to a slide presentation, was to prepare key leaders and expert staff for upcoming missions abroad and to close skill gaps. A total of 207 German and U.S. Soldiers participated in the exercise in Kastellaun and surrounding sites.
"One of the main aims of exercise SYSNET was the interconnection of Bundeswehr and U.S. CIS systems in order to check on the feasibility of interoperability," said Maj. Henning Schwichow, the 282nd CIS Support Battalion S3.
Sgt. 1st Class Albert King, who was on the 102nd Signal Battalion's team at Kastellaun, said some of the interoperability challenges they overcame included language barriers and the configuration of systems.
"The 282nd has been exceptional in providing assistance when we needed it," King said.
Schwichow said his Soldiers had to teach the Americans how the German equipment worked, but that there were no significant technical or cultural issues.
"German and American IT Soldiers can work together without any difficulties because of the same hardware and software components, a similar IT training and the same cultural background," Schwichow said. "Conducting missions and exercises together is a very likely scenario which makes it even more important to conduct IT training and to improve the interoperability of the respective CIS of our partner nations."
The 282nd CIS Support Battalion and the 102nd Signal Battalion are dedicated partner units. Lt. Col. Chris Keeshan, commander of the 102nd Signal Battalion, said the units started with ranges and are now moving into more technical aspects of the partnership.
"We're learning a lot more about each other and our capabilities," Keeshan said.
Brig. Gen. Dr. Michael Faerber, BwCISCOM deputy commander, was in Kastellaun June 16 to observe the training and receive a briefing on the progress of the exercise. He emphasized the importance of training together to build trust and partner capacity.
"If you start to train all of this in peacetime, then that's the best thing you can do in order to prepare for operations," Faerber said.
Keeshan said the units are currently discussing the potential for cross training that would "break down the barriers of language, training and equipment and get us to a common place."
2nd Signal Brigade builds, operates and defends Mission Command System and networks to support unified action anytime, anywhere.