FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii — The 9th Mission Support Command recently became the first command in the U.S. Army Reserve to implement the use of a virtual private network — or VPN — with the Very Small Aperture Terminal satellite communications system.
This Very Small Aperture Terminal satellite communications system — known as VSAT —allows the 9th Mission Control Command to connect to internet and phone communications anywhere in the world very quickly and securely.
For the last few months, Soldiers from the 322nd Civil Affairs Battalion, 100th Infantry Battalion, 411th Engineer Battalion, 302nd Transportation Terminal Battalion, 740th Forward Support Company and 303rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade were trained on the assembly and use of the upgraded system.
“The system can be set up by two Soldiers in less than 20 minutes,” said Celestino Ranon, with the 9th MSC Sustainment Automation Support Management Office. “This is a powerful capability for a commander to use. This equips our soldiers to have access via army networks anywhere, anytime.”
Previous versions of the VSAT system were used for operations in the Middle East such as Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. This new upgraded system now can fit on a single shipping pallet making it highly portable.
The upgraded VSAT VPN capability also bolsters operational security. With this upgrade, the VSAT systems have become operational assets ready for use for Army Reserve exercises and other real-world missions. While such capabilities enhance the battlefield capabilities of 9th MSC units, the VSAT could also be used in areas where natural disasters have knocked out civilian communications, so that units providing support could still move and communicate.
The VSAT-created network can also be expanded with additional interfaces such as the Combat Service Support Automated Information Systems Interface to create a large mobile wireless network for use in any area the satellite system is deployed. This use of such technology widens the scope of communication on future battlefields thereby increasing the combat and logistical capabilities equipped units.
“The G4 Staff at the 9th MSC is incredibly proud of this effort. Mr. Ranon has gone above and beyond, putting many extra hours to meet this accomplishment”, said the Deputy G4, Mr. William Diaz-Wilson.