By Kirk Broussard, 58th Signal BattalionJune 21, 2011
NAVAL COMPUTER AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS STATION, Guam " When the 311th Signal Command’s newly-completed Regional Hub Node here becomes operational, the reach of the Army network will truly become global. This was the source of excitement at the facility’s inauguration ceremony here June 10.
The Guam RHN, the fourth to be built worldwide, was specifically designed to extend the Global Information Grid to deployed tactical organizations, providing them with immediate access to services critical to executing battlespace operations regardless of their location. The fixed platform, equipped with two antennae commonly used for satellite communications in remote locations, is scheduled to become operational in October.
“The Guam RHN is a game changer and will allow us to rapidly deliver critical network capability and services to expeditionary Warfighters and command posts,” said event guest speaker, Col. Dana Tankins, Commander of the 516th Signal Brigade.
According to Lt. Col. Raymond Compton, a lead from the Army Project Manager Warfare Information Network-Tactical office, the system will provide voice, data and video services that directly support Warfighters with command capabilities access to the Pacific Land WarNet. Primary services will include the Non-classified Internet Protocol Router Network, the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network and the Defense Switched Network.
"The RHNs enable us to really be world-wide capable, as they have been designed to support the mobile communications equipment of Brigade Command Teams, the Army’s new modular fighting force, so they can take their computers and already-configured network systems, plug them in, and go,” said Jack Pettit, a 311th Information Technology Specialist and lead project manager for the Guam RHN project since November of 2009, shortly after its inception in August 2009. "As we standardize the equipment we are using, the Army's Signal mission is changing, and the RHNs are a significant part of that because they enable us to communicate directly and work together instead of having our own little nodes."
The ceremony also marked the beginning of New Equipment Training for the team of 23 Active Component Soldiers who will man the facility. Led by Chief Warrant Officer Steven Rojas and assigned to a detachment of the 333rd Signal Co., which reports to the 58th Signal Battalion, headquartered at Fort Buckner, Okinawa. Their NET training, which began June 6, will continue through the summer and culminate in a Capstone Exercise in September.
Key leaders at U.S. Naval Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base will assist and support the RHN team as needed. This arrangement is critical to the success of the team’s dual mission which includes Signal support for responses to natural disasters in the Pacific Region.
“We will become part of the community on the island of Guam and a valuable asset throughout the Pacific,” Rojas said, “I believe the future of the RHN will include many transitions as the Army continues to change the way it communicates.”
Lt. Col. William Deagan, Commander, 58th Signal Battalion, Fort Buckner, Okinawa, said his Soldiers are excited to assume this new mission at the Guam RHN, the newest addition to a global presence that extends the latest enterprise network technology to combatant commanders and joint expeditionary forces.
“We are able to see new parts of the world now, because the Guam RHN allows us to literally wrap the earth, said Brig. Gen. William Scott, commander of the 311th Signal Command. “This represents global reach for the Army.”