Bandwidth proves logistical headache

The logistics problems the military experienced during Operation Iraqi Freedom mainly involved communications and distribution.

Personnel in the Middle East could not get enough bandwidth to buy materiel online, and fast-moving troops did not always receive the goods because they had moved on from the place where they ordered them, said Lt. Gen. Claude Christianson, the Army's deputy chief of staff for logistics.

To help solve the problem, Army officials shifted $165 million in the logistics budget last fall to buy commercial satellite communications so that troops entering Iraq this spring and summer can order and receive supplies more quickly, Christianson said.

One result is the Army's new Combat Service Support-

Satellite Communications system, which provides logisticians and medical personnel with more bandwidth and easier methods of ordering and delivering

supplies.

The $50,000 system comes in two boxes and can be assembled in 15 to 30 minutes. It consists of a ruggedized notebook computer and satellite dish called a very small-

aperture terminal, said Lt. Col. Earl Noble, product manager for the service's Defense Wide Transmission Systems program at Fort Monmouth, N.J.

This spring and summer, the 3rd Infantry Division will train with the system before it deploys to Iraq. A year ago, the 3rd Infantry and 1st Marine divisions led the Iraqi invasion.

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