WIESBADEN, Germany -- The U.S. Army Signal Activity Kaiserslautern (USASA-K), 102nd Strategic Signal Battalion, officially opened a new headquarters and operations building for the Enterprise SATCOM Gateway Landstuhl (ESG-L) at a ribbon cutting ceremony May 15, 2017 in Landstuhl.
The ESG-L is the largest Army-operated SATCOM facility outside the continental U.S and provides warfighters on the ground, air and sea, as well as other Department of Defense and U.S. Government agencies, with internet services via satellite anywhere on five continents and three oceans.
Col. Jeff Worthington, commander of 2nd Theater Signal Brigade, said the new modern facility will enhance Team Signal's ability to enable mission command and deliver world-class satellite communications, service delivery and theater communications security support.
"This unique facility will provide the tactical and strategic satellite backbone for the Department of Defense, joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational organizations spread throughout Europe and Africa," Worthington said.
The official opening of the building is the culmination of a concept, design and construction process that began more than 10 years ago. However, USASA-K will not be fully moved in until 2020 when it completes the transition of mission support from its current headquarters to the new building.
"It's exciting to see the doors open, but I know it's still a long road ahead before the project will be fully realized," said Capt. Matthew de la Guardia, commander of USASA-K. "When it's complete, our technicians and operators will have the ability to more rapidly support the diverse customer base that we have downrange."
According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District, the new 48,050-square-foot facility took 29 months to construct at a cost of $32.5 million. Matthew Karlinchak, project manager for Europe District, said the building was a design collaboration between German architects and the Europe District.
"This project is pretty unique in the world. It took years of planning, years of getting requirements from the users and just making sure we get everything right to get this facility built," Karlinchak said.
He said the project had a number of environmental considerations, including moving ant hills and lizards, constructing bat sanctuaries and working around archaeological sites. Karlinchak said the coloring and contours of the facility were designed to blend in with the natural surroundings of the nearby forest.
"I think the iridescent panels on the outside is the most unique part of the facility. The panels themselves change color as you walk around, anywhere from brown to maroon to yellow," Karlinchak said.
Another unique design feature is the infrastructure, including power, water, and heating and cooling systems, shared between multiple military units and buildings at the facility, which Karlinchak said will ultimately save the government millions of dollars.
"The road from this project's inception to its inauguration today has been long and full of challenges, but through the exceptional work of many talented individuals we have the opportunity to open those doors today," de la Guardia said.
2nd Theater Signal Brigade conducts Department of Defense Information Network operations to enable mission command in support of U.S. Army, Joint and multinational operations throughout the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command areas of operation.