The lieutenant governor of New Jersey visited the U.S. Army Material Command's Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, Ground Activity, or CGA, last month, to learn about the mission growth path.
The CGA, which is part of CERDEC's Space and Terrestrial Communications Directorate, or S&TCD, is on the cutting edge of supporting this generation and next generation's operational gaps for training and cyber activities, something Lt. Gov. Kimberly Guadagno wants to support from outside the wire.
"To support the Army's active duty component, the state has the ability and purview to help quality of life issues that benefit the military who live on or around the base, from economic development to school-related issues," Guadagno said. "The state also can aid in roads, land management around the base [encroachment issues] and air space."
CGA, along with CERDEC's Flight Activity, are part of the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst which is the only tri-service base in the country, servicing Army, Air Force and Navy, and the second largest employer in the state of New Jersey. Representing a very active community, Guadagno wants to help push and shape the tri-service joint base, which is known for maintaining controlled terrain; air corridors and spectrum management.
"The Joint Base plays a critical role in supporting our local, state, and national communities," Guadagno added. "The over 44,000 service members and their families living and working around the base contribute $6.9 billion to the local economy."
As chair of the Military Installation Growth and Development Task Force, Guadagno said she is proud of the steps recommended and implemented to encourage defense-related development around the Joint Base, such as "attracting private capital to and around the base, ensuring that private sector businesses choose to partner with our military installations, and improving New Jersey's pipeline of science, technology, engineering and mathematics-educated young people who can fill the needs of our future military and defense jobs."
The CGA provides an Army-wide venue that tests capabilities from both ground and air and can utilize varied terrain, the use of restricted ranges and airspace, and the freedom to interact between ground and aerial layers with the Flight Activity without having to relocate assets from elsewhere in the country.
"We are a world class lab coat community, but we are also a world class field base community that understands how to translate engineering into operations," said Dr. Richard Wittstruck, associate director of Field Based Experimentation and Integration for CERDEC S&TCD.
During the visit on March 30, Wittstruck spoke of three focus areas for CGA that included global mobility, training and innovation.
"We're looking forward to how the lieutenant governor can help the Army, community and the CGA," Wittstruck said.
Guadagno and her team received a capstone briefing during the visit, with a focus on innovation of unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, followed by a tour of the CGA's vehicle integration bay, resident 3D printing technology, and the tactical communications facility. From there, the team drove in a Stryker to meet with visiting Soldiers who spoke on why the CGA capabilities have been important in getting their objectives done, especially with exercises like Cyber Blitz, which focused on assessing cyber and electromagnetic activities, or CEMA, in a tactical environment.
"It provided a first in training experience for every single Soldier that attended the training. This exercise greatly affected how our brigade develops our tactical operating picture and how we approach CEMA, cyber and intelligence reparation of the battlefield," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 James Bass, electronic warfare tech for the 25th Infantry Division, in speaking about Cyber Blitz.
"The CGA provides a superb facility to experience, develop, streamline and document Battle Drills for easy knowledge sharing and distribution to other similar U.S. Army units," Bass added.