11th Signal Brigade to provide comm support in East Timor

The Army Signal Command, Fort Huachuca, Ariz., will deploy 120 soldiers from its 11th Signal Brigade to provide communications support to U.N. forces operating in East Timor, with the first contingent leaving today at 1 p.m. MDT.

"This is our mission, to provide communications anytime, anywhere in the world it's needed," said Lt. Matt Scelza, public affairs officer for the 11th Signal Brigade.

The 11th Signal Brigade is the Army's primary provider of rapid deployment tactical communications. It will provide satellite communications terminals capable of accessing commercial- and Defense Department-owned and operated satellites to forces in East Timor and to the U.N. operational support headquarters in Darwin, Australia, according to a spokesman for the brigade. The group also will deploy standard field digital switching gear to these users, the spokesman said.

The 11th Signal Brigade's East Timor Task Force, commanded by Lt. Col. Mike Yarmie, will use this gear to provide "secure and nonsecure Internet service, video teleconferencing and voice communications" to the Australian-led U.N. forces, the spokesman said.

The United States already has deployed a mobile command post for the U.S. Pacific Fleet and the amphibious assault ship USS Belleau Wood to help support the U.N.-backed East Timor peacekeeping operation.

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