Network modernization improves data sharing capability
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TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. -- The backbone of Tobyhanna's information technology, along with the entire Department of Defense (DoD), is in the process of a major leap forward.

The computer networks used throughout DoD will be enhanced and combined in a massive upgrade in capability and reliability.

In late 2012, the Army embarked on its portion of this upgrade via the Program Executive Office, Enterprise Information Systems (PEO-EIS).

"EIS is the lead for planning, acquiring, engineering and installing a solution to modernize the Army network," said Ralph Stola, information technology (IT) project manager and the lead for Tobyhanna's portion, Installation Services Directorate's Information Management Division. "In response, the Network Modernizations-Continental United States, or NETMOD-C, Level of Effort was initiated."

NETMOD-C is a joint mission between PEO-EIS, Information System Engineering Command, Installation Information Infrastructure Modernization Program, 7th Signal Command at Fort Gordon, Georgia, and its subordinate units on all Army installations.

NETMOD-C seeks to create a single, secure standards-based network that is capable, reliable and trusted. This is achieved by enabling global collaboration with Joint Service, Interagency and Intergovernmental environments in mind. Upon completion, the network will collapse more than 30 networks into a single Army network, reducing the number of entry/exit points to enhance network security.

To accomplish this, the routers and switches that form the backbone of networks will be replaced with new routers, switches and fiber optic cables. Redundant network pipelines will be established to minimize or prevent network outages. Power will be provided over the network rather than from an outside source and backed up by batteries.

"Tobyhanna will have two main pipelines; both will carry network load at the same time, but if one goes down, the other will automatically take over the entire load," said Don Martin, lead IT specialist, Information Management Division. "Other than the network becoming much more reliable, the effect to employees will be nearly invisible."

"Employees working off-post will have immediate access to depot support because there will be less steps and more stability when using the new networks," said James Redline, IT project manager. "And of course, employees here will have an easier time sending data to off-post offices."

Because the network will be DoD-wide, tenants here will be included in the upgrade. "All components of DoD will share this resource," Stola said.

To prepare for this, Building 90 will serve as the project's staging area. Inventory, equipment programming, project conferences, and other associated requirements will be done in this building. Preparations there are about 95 percent complete.

The routers, switches, fiber optic cabling, and other associated equipment will be stored in the DLA Distribution Tobyhanna warehouses. "NETMOD-C will provide the switches, which saved us $2.5 million," Martin said.

In December, work will be begin here to replace the depot's network hardware. New equipment will arrive and be staged for configuration and deployment.

"This project can be tied to the depot's modernization efforts," Redline said. "It will provide Tobyhanna the ability to support additional workload, increasing Army readiness."

Installation will be performed by Tobyhanna IT employees, Soldiers from the 93rd Signal Brigade at Fort Eustis, Virginia, and a contractor.

Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna's Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C4ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.

Tobyhanna's unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, post production software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our Joint Warfighters.

About 3,200 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the command's mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.