The Joint Communications Support Element (JCSE) is a short fuse, rapidly deployable airborne communications support provider based at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. The unit is assigned to the Joint Enabling Capability Command of the U.S. Transportation Command.
The JCSE provides en route, early-entry, and scalable command, control, communications, computer, combat systems, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C5ISR) service capability to combatant commands and other agencies. It facilitates the rapid establishment of a joint force headquarters and bridges joint C5ISR requirements.
The JCSE comprises three active, multiservice joint communications squadrons, two Air Force National Guard communications squadrons, and one Army Reserve communications squadron.
The headquarters squadron consists of staff sections from J-1 (personnel) through J-9 (civil-military operations) and the command team. The command team consists of an Army colonel and command sergeant major, Air Force lieutenant colonel, and civil service GS-14 who serves as the chief of staff. The active component squadrons are supported by the Communications Support Detachment (CSD) also based at MacDill Air Force Base.
The Joint Communications Academy (JCA) prepares newly assigned members for the missions they will perform as part of a joint communications squadron. The 13-week training program provides a combination of tactical and technical training to prepare unit members for deployment. The JCA is in addition to advanced individual training and other technical professional military education.
The technical portion of the JCA includes baseline training on radios, computer networking, managing work groups, satellite communications, and managing calls. It includes a one-week course on the Joint Building Blocks System and the joint force headquarters communications package.
The Joint Building Blocks System is a modular, internet protocol-based package capable of providing secure and nonsecure voice, data, and video services. The system can be customized to support a range of operations, from initial-entry to the establishment of a joint task force.
The joint force headquarters communications package provides a full suite of mission command-enabling infrastructure, including tents, power, and environmental control units.
The CSD provides sustainment support to the JCSE for vehicle management, power generation, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, engineering, maritime operations, parachute packing, and communications equipment movement and distribution.
Support is provided as far forward as the JCSE is located through direct interaction with theater-designated supply and distribution agencies.
All of the JCSE's sustainers are assigned to the CSD. The CSD comprises 51 personnel and is a mix of Army, Air Force, Navy, and civilian employees. It is commanded by an Army chief warrant officer five senior ordnance logistician. An Air Force vehicle maintenance senior master sergeant is assigned as the senior enlisted adviser.
Air Force and Army personnel comprise the majority of the CSD staff. The Air Force provides sustainment support with power generation providers and vehicle maintenance and management. The Army provides sustainment through allied trades personnel, engineer equipment repairmen, vehicle mechanics, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning repairmen, aerial delivery specialists, and parachute packers. The Navy provides Seabee personnel.
Because of its unique mission, the CSD has many cross-training and technical training opportunities that typically are not available to Soldiers and Airmen, including training presented by original equipment manufacturers such as Evinrude, Oshkosh, Caterpillar, and Eaton Transmissions. This training provides CSD sustainers with the knowledge needed to perform maintenance at a higher than typical level.
Training is also offered to support the CSD's maritime mission. This training is needed so that CSD sustainers can support airborne operations in which paratroopers may land in water or where a water jump is planned for the JCSE. Regardless of branch, service members assigned to the CSD attend the Evinrude Maritime Repair Course to become certified.
The CSD allied trades shop is comparable to those in the Army's combat brigades. In the allied trades shops, sustainers can fabricate components for testing new communications processes and make repairs through machining and welding.
Below is a list of additional technical courses that service members assigned to the CSD have the opportunity to attend:
• Zodiac Inflatable Boat Repair Course.
• Evinrude Outboard Maintenance Course.
• Oshkosh Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles Maintenance Course.
• Caterpillar Advanced Engine Course.
• Steering, Suspension, Wheel Alignment, and Braking Systems Course.
• Vehicle Air Conditioning Systems Course.
• Automatic Transmissions Course.
• Diesel Engine Maintenance Course.
• Vehicle Diagnostic, Test Equipment, and Electrical Systems.
• Civil Engineer Advanced Electrical Troubleshooting.
• Troubleshooting Electrical Power Generating Equipment.
The service members assigned to the CSD provide support through their military occupational specialties and can operate with minimal guidance. Each service member who deploys must know his or her job and the communications package that is being deployed.
Anywhere in the world that there is a communications support team from the JCSE, there is a CSD sustainer providing it with unparalleled support.
To learn more about an assignment with the JCSE and the CSD, visit http://www.jcse.mil.
Chief Warrant Officer 5 Alexander W. Taylor is the commander of the CSD, JCSE, at MacDill Air Force Base. He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from American Military University. He has completed all levels of warrant officer professional military education.
This article was published in the July-August 2017 issue of Army Sustainment magazine.