By Elysa Otero, ASC Public AffairsMay 13, 2010
ROCK ISLAND, Ill.-A former cafeteria is being transformed into a new operations center supporting Army Sustainment Command's global mission.
Eleven miles of cable route information through the Network Operations Center from servers in the new Technical Control Room. The Network Operations Center, which is under construction, will become fully operational at Rock Island Arsenal this November.
The NOC mission is connecting ASC's deployed logistics personnel around the world via voice, video, and data communication.
The NOC's current home, Fort Monmouth, N.J., will be closing in 2011 as a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act. Beside RIA, Fort Belvoir, Va., and Fort Bragg, N.C., were considered for the NOC relocation, but both required a significant investment to upgrade their existing infrastructure, said Paul Meaker, program manager of the NOC.
The NOC is not your typical operations center. "The NOC consists of two main components. One is the control room where network specialists sit and monitor the equipment. The other is a warehouse integration facility for building field communications packages that are deployed all over the world," said Mark Komatar, ASC Information Management, project manager for NOC relocation.
The NOC mainly supports the ASC, but also provides support to other customers. Because it will rely so much on the NOC for two-way communication with the field, ASC agreed to pay most of the NOC relocation cost.
ASC's former commanding general, Maj. Gen. Robert M. Radin, now the assistant deputy chief of staff of Army logistics at the Pentagon, supported the 2008 decision to relocate the NOC to RIA, according to Meaker. The relocation project will cost ASC nearly $14 million.
"The driving factor here was cost, cost to the taxpayer," Meaker said. "We saved probably $4 million in renovation cost in coming here."
"ASC is our main customer," Meaker said, describing the advantage of being at RIA.
"The commander can reach in here at anytime, 24 hours a day. He knows the operational status of all the communication assets he has deployed," Meaker said.
The NOC not only connects deployed logistics personnel via sophisticated communication equipment, it also monitors computer usage, such as downloads and web sites visited by users.
"Bandwidth is a very big concern for us because of the cost involved," said Jared Haggert, an engineer who works in the control room.
When the NOC is operational at RIA, an estimated 125,000 telephone calls, 1.5 million e-mails, and 500 video teleconferences will go through its servers monthly.
The other main mission of the NOC is building communication packages for deployed personnel. Construction is underway at RIA to house the Facility Integration Center where the packages will be built. These deployable units will be assembled at the FIC, then undergo routine maintenance after returning from deployment.
These sets allow deployed personnel full connectivity in the field through the Multi-Media Communications System. Each package will be able to provide a variety of communication capabilities for up to 150 deployed personnel. All communication packages are equipped with satellite links, making the NOC a global operation.
Depending on the number of deployed personnel, packages vary in size. According to Meaker, a package can be configured in a matter of hours.
The NOC will be operated by more than 30 contractors from DRS Inc., headquartered in Parsippany, N.J., and one federal civilian assigned to Defense Wide Transmission Systems.
The FIC will also be contractor-operated and employ 11 people.
"We already have four personnel assigned out here from the work force we are bringing up from Fort Monmouth. The main flow of personnel we hope to start moving in June or July," said Meaker.
For queries, contact the Army Sustainment Command Public Affairs Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 309-782-5421.
For current ASC news, go to www.aschq.army.mil.