WIESBADEN, Germany -- A formation of U.S. Army Soldiers from 5th Signal Command (Theater) donned U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command patches during a ceremony marking the establishment of the NETCOM TAC-Europe April 14, 2017 in Wiesbaden, Germany.
The NETCOM TAC-Europe provides direct enterprise network engineering, planning, operations and cybersecurity support of the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command areas of responsibility. The NETCOM TAC-Europe coordinates, directs and supports strategic and tactical planning, operations and cybersecurity capabilities for inter-theater requirements and provides direct reach back to NETCOM headquarters.
"The TAC-Europe establishes a team which will be vertically aligned to the theater's missions and provide the operational extension of the NETCOM commander for planning and executing enterprise projects and supporting operations in the European and African theaters," said Michelle Curtis, NETCOM TAC-Europe deputy director.
Col. Tim Norton, NETCOM chief of staff, and Command Sgt. Maj. Darris Curry, NETCOM senior enlisted leader, removed the 5th Signal Cmd. patches and placed NETCOM patches onto the shoulder sleeves of Maj. Jared Snawder, NETCOM TAC-Europe assistant director, and Sgt. 1st Class James Young, NETCOM TAC-Europe noncommissioned officer in charge, symbolizing authorization of all Soldiers assigned to the NETCOM TAC-Europe to wear the NETCOM patch. Snawder and Young patched the remainder of the formation, then Norton and Curry gave NETCOM pins to each Civilian assigned to the NETCOM TAC-Europe.
Norton said he challenged the new NETCOM TAC-Europe Soldiers and Civilians to be excited about this change, to do something different and to think outside the box.
"It's not too often that you get to stand up a new organization, you get to build it, to define its mission, you get to really work through the tactics, techniques and procedures, the battle rhythm and to build the relationships with the other units around you," Norton said.
5th Signal Cmd. is scheduled to inactivate later this year as a result of directed funding and force structure cuts made throughout the Department of Defense announced November 2016. The Theater Signal Restructure and Reinvestment is NETCOM's effort to transform and streamline overseas theater Signal mission command structure. This plan eliminates a layer of mission command by consolidating support functions at the NETCOM headquarters elements and theater signal brigade, and reinvests manpower and resources into supporting five core functions -- network planning, network engineering, network operations, network intelligence and cybersecurity.
With the pending inactivation of 5th Signal Cmd., Norton said the establishment of the NETCOM TAC-Europe demonstrates NETCOM's ongoing commitment to the theater.
"It's a sign of commitment from not only the NETCOM staff, but Army Cyber, that we will continue to look out for the interests of Europe and Africa, we'll continue to expand the mission as necessary and surge forces," Norton said.
The 5th Signal Cmd. patch was authorized Oct. 24, 1994 by The Institute of Heraldry. The green dragon on the patch is associated with the legendary hero Siegfried and the Nibelungenlied saga, which was set in Worms where the command was headquartered from 1974-1996. Orange and white are colors of the Signal Corps, and the black lightning bolts symbolize the speed and power of electronic communications.
The patch worn by NETCOM Soldiers today is no stranger to Europe as it was worn from 1964 by Soldiers assigned to U.S. Army Strategic Communications Command -- Europe, then by 5th Signal Cmd. Soldiers from 1974-1995. The NETCOM patch also uses the colors orange and white to represent the Signal Corps. The globe indicates the worldwide nature of the communications controlled by the command, and the lightning depicts its dynamic and strategic capabilities.
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.
The U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, is the Army's single information technology service provider for all network communications. NETCOM leads global operations for the Army's portion of the Department of Defense Information Network, ensuring freedom of action in cyberspace while denying the same to our adversaries. NETCOM has the expertise of more than 15,000 Soldiers, Civilians and Contractors supporting every Army Command, Army Service Component Command and Direct Reporting Unit in more than 20 countries and everywhere there is an Army presence. NETCOM is a subordinate command of the Army Cyber Command.