FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii -- Leaders from the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) G-6/Ground Intelligence Support Activity (GISA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACoE) Honolulu District held a groundbreaking ceremony for the GISA-Pacific Enterprise Scalable Data Center (ESDC) at Fort Shafter, Hawaii, Dec. 6.

The two-story, approximately 4,320 square feet ESDC, will house over 100 racks of IT equipment supporting U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) and theater end-users with a regional-focused military intelligence (MI) IT Enterprise platform. This new modernized ESDC will improve the readiness and resiliency of Army MI IT supporting Pacific-based mission partners by replacing aging infrastructure with state-of-the-art critical support capabilities.

Michael A. Canna, INSCOM GISA director and assistant chief of staff, G-6, gave remarks on the journey to accomplish the ESDC project and INSCOM's commitment to provide global MI IT support for the Pacific region.

"Today marks the culmination of an 18-month journey, which was marked by hundreds of hours of coordination and discussion with Department of the Army, Chief of Information Officer - CIO G-6 - the Army Corp of Engineers, and multiple vendors to make today's ceremony possible," said Canna. "We demonstrate INSCOM's commitment to providing global MI IT support from our regionally-aligned Ground Intelligence Support Activity - GISA - a centralized capability with core nodes in Germany, Fort Bragg, Fort Gordon, and here in Hawaii. Just three years ago these sites operated independently, were desynchronized and inefficient."

Canna added that Army organizations and supported mission partners deserved better. To meet operational requirements, in 2016 INSCOM reorganized to provide centralized command and control of the MI IT Enterprise and began a deliberate campaign of modernization and standardization.

"Today's events mark a milestone in these modernization efforts. In this simple act of breaking ground today, celebrated by this solemn ceremony, INSCOM demonstrates our enduring commitment to this theater's mission, and to its people," said Canna. "USARPAC deserves this level of support, and INSCOM intends to deliver on this promise every day. You have my solemn promise."

When complete, USARPAC and theater end-users will be supported by the most capability regionally-focused MI IT Enterprise platform INSCOM has ever fielded.

After Canna's remarks, Hawaiian Priest Kahu Kordell Kekoa, led a traditional Hawaiian blessing of the construction site area using Hawaiian salt, 25-year old rainwater and ti leaves fresh from the Hawaiian islands to purify the grounds and bless the soil in preparation for this project.

According to Gwendolyn Conger, INSCOM GISA facilities engineer, the GISA-Pacific personnel went above the call of duty to prepare Hawaiian-influenced food for a reception after the groundbreaking.

"I loved the presence of the Hawaiian 'Priest Kahu' who explained the 'why' and historic cultural significance of what we did for all the little steps that were taken," Conger said.

The GISA-Pacific ESDC project, a joint effort by the ACoE's Honolulu District and the Baltimore (Maryland) District Realty Field Services Office, has an expected completion of Phase I, July 2019, with Phase II completion expected at the end of 2019.