Providing communication interoperability to a multi-national force
Communicators from seven nations converged on Poland and Lithuania this past September during Exercise Jackal Stone 2010 to develop coalition communication planning techniques and provide a deployable, interoperable communications system for more than 1,100 SOF personnel. Jackal Stone is a multi-national Special Operations Force (SOF) joint exercise led by U.S. Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR).
Planners from Poland, Lithuania, Croatia, Romania, Latvia, Ukraine and the United States worked hand in hand to ensure that the most reliable communications support would be provided to the force.
“The importance of NATO and Coalition interoperability can not be emphasized enough,” said Lt. Cmdr. Sean Fischer, a SOCEUR communication planner.
During the week long exercise, communication planners developed ways to improve current procedures by using each nation’s vast experience and knowledge of its own techniques. By the end of the exercise, they had a better understanding of what it takes to provide the necessary planning to support SOF coalition operations. The techniques that were produced can be used in future operations to ensure interoperability between NATO and Coalition SOF.
“Coming here to Jackal Stone was very beneficial for me as I was able to learn a lot, particularly through the working groups,” said Romanian Master Sgt. Aurelian Petrut, who was participating in his first Jackal Stone exercise. “There was a lot of experience in the room as we exchanged ideas with each other.”
Petrut, who serves as a communications sergeant, also mentioned that his experience working with the BICES [Battlefield Information Collection and Exploitation System] would benefit him for future missions in support of ISAF.
“Now I will be able to take what I learned from this training event back to Romania and be able to speak the same ‘language’ at the NATO level,” Petrut added.
Besides developing common understanding on planning techniques and procedures, it is also necessary to be able to share this information with the force in a reliable and responsive manner. Every nation has its own “way” to communicate its information requirements, but when working in a coalition environment you need “one” system to ensure everyone is communicating together.
“We use BICES to communicate securely with our coalition allies and partners,” said Col. Mark Luchs, SOCEUR J-6. “NATO and Coalition SOF needs a reliable and flexible information sharing network to collect, develop and share important information that will be used to develop the plan for engaging and defeating the enemy.”
BICES was employed in three countries at six locations during the exercise, which provided a reliable yet secure communications system in support of SOF operations. United States communications specialists worked side-by-side with their partner nation specialists to provide this robust capability.
“Not all of our partner nations have this deployable capability, so it was an outstanding opportunity for U.S. Forces to train coalition forces on the implementation and capabilities of BICES and develop ‘work-arounds’ for non-NATO partners,” said Luchs.
By the end of exercise Jackal Stone 10, it was very evident that all partner nation SOF communicators had a better understanding of what it takes to work in a coalition/joint interoperable environment.
“This is my third Jackal Stone exercise and by far this has been the best experience because of the outstanding effort displayed by every participating SOF communicator,” said 1st Sgt. Brian Brown, SOCEUR Signal Detachment’s senior noncommissioned officer. “SOF communicators will start planning immediately for next year’s Jackal Stone and no doubt will be implementing the techniques and procedures developed here.”
(Editor’s note – Lt. Col. Pokemire is the SOCEUR J6 Plans & Exercises Division Chief)
Find more articles tagged with:
U.S. Special Operations Command Europe celebrated the 59th Anniversary of SOCEUR, Jan. 22 at Patch Barracks.
The biannual event, traditionally conducted in Sofia, was held in Stuttgart for just the second time since the signing of the United States/Bulgaria Defense Cooperation Agreement in 2006.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel praised Estonia's commitment in Afghanistan in a Pentagon meeting today with Estonian Defense Minister Urmas Reinsalu.
The Michigan National Guard celebrates their 20-year partnership with Latvia with a look back at how the partnership started and and some milestones along the way.
Slovenian-born General Frank Gorenc, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa, visited Slovenia Nov. 8 and 9, 2013, to meet Defence Minister Roman Jakič, Chief of the General Staff, Brigadier Dobran Božič, and President Borut Pahor. The general also visited the barracks and airbase in Cerklje ob Krki and be presented the capabilities of the Slovenian air force, according to the Defence Ministry.
It makes fiscal and strategic sense for the United States to continue to base troops in Europe, the officer who serves as NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe and commander of U.S. European Command said today.
Top U.S., Romanian and NATO officials broke ground Monday on a new ballistic missile defense facility being built to boost regional stability and strengthen the alliance's collective security stance.
MWCS-28 was tasked with providing communications services including chat and web port interoperability that would allow all the nations and organizations participating in CE13 to communicate.
"I really think that EUCOM provided us with the best insight and tools on strategic communication," Ceku said. "EUCOM strategic communication experts had an in-depth knowledge about the cultural complexity that Kosovo has and they have adapted their training perfectly for our own needs."
June 22 in Kiel, Germany: In Kiel, BALTOPS' events include a post exercise discussion; ship tours of the BALTOPS Maritime Force by local government officials, military members and the public; a reception aboard USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20); as well as participation in Kiel Week.