By Sgt. Brian Rodan, 5th Signal CommandSeptember 18, 2012
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion shared wires and wisdom with over 1,000 communication professionals from up to 40 NATO partners at Combined Endeavor 12, the largest multinational communications exercise in the world from September 7-20, at the Grafenwoehr Training Center, Germany.
This year's theme during Combined Endeavor was Coalition Information Dominance.
The exercise helps to improve U.S., European and NATO military communications and computer network inter-connectivity, and to help nations partner together in responding to regional crises or disasters.
During the exercise 5th Signal Command provided help in multiple ways.
"We have a few sections from within 5th Signal Command that are supporting this exercise. Plans and Engineering designed the network, 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion has two satellite transport terminals on site providing transport and one network technician to monitor the network. 69th Signal Battalion provided support, extending the command and control network and provided DSN lines wherever requested. 7th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade rotated four network technicians to support monitoring the network," said Jeffery D. Mack, an exercise planner and satellite communications manager at 5th Signal Command.
However, this year 5th had to do a bit more during Combined Endeavor that they didn't do in previous years.
"This year 5th Signal was responsible for more than previous years. We had to install, operate and maintain the core network (CNET) which is the basis for which all testing and scenarios are conducted over the C2 network," said Mack.
Soldiers from 5th Signal that participated in this exercise gained important on the job training.
"All involved with engineering, installation, operating and maintaining of the two networks are exposed to the challenges of C4I (command, control, communications, and intelligence) interoperability between our NATO partners," Mack said.
Sgt. Steven L. Galimore, assigned to the Grafenwoehr-based 44th ESB and a Command Post Node team chief at Combined Endeavor, said CE gives everyone an opportunity to learn more about their job and the chance to troubleshoot their different equipment. Also, in regards to transmitting information through other countries, it gives us the opportunity to show how reliable we are which helps keep other countries' information going, and that creates a bond and partnership amongst NATO countries.
The overall objectives of exercise Combined Endeavor is to build partnership with all participating nations, support operational preparation of deployableC4 forces, prepare coalition forces through training and professional development, and develop interoperability standards.
5th Signal Command's objectives during the exercise are to continue to foster and sustain coalition partner relationships and to establish robust inter-service and inter-nation communications capabilities for future missions when required.