Army's foreign service
- By George I. Seffers
- Jul 10, 2000
Under a recent U.S. policy shift in foreign military sales, an Army team
is helping the Czech Republic, Romania, Poland and possibly the Philippines
build military command and control infrastructures.
The team, which specializes in command and control center projects,
is also offering its assistance to the Israeli Ministry of Defense in fielding
a logistics information system.
The Army's Command Center Upgrades/Special Projects Office (CCU/ SPO),
located at the Communications-Electronics Command, Fort Monmouth, N.J.,
has been building U.S. military command and control infrastructures and
command centers for years but is now turning its attention abroad.
In January, the team wrapped up the first of a three-phase effort to
install the command, control, communications, computers and intelligence
(C4I) infrastructure at the Romanian Ministry of Defense. It has also just
completed an initial pilot phase on a project to automate Romanian military
logistics. The Romanian Ministry of Defense is expected to approve the next
phases of the program in the fall.
The team's work is done through foreign military sales, which can involve
equipment or services. One team member estimated the Army has awarded about
$10 million in foreign military sales contracts.
"[The work] is accomplished with foreign military sales assistance under
a Warsaw initiative to upgrade the communications and command and control
infrastructure in select countries," said Steve Hussey, chief of the CCU/SPO
Theater Systems Integration Office in Europe. "The Romania efforts were
extremely successful from the perspective of putting fully functional projects
on the ground. Basically, the old foreign military sales rules were reclarified
to put complete, fully functional C4I technology systems on the ground."
The original three-phase program with Romania included:
n Engineering, furnishing, installing and testing communication infrastructure
within the Ministry of Defense building.
n Engineering, furnishing, installing and testing communications infrastructures
and upgrading communications interoperability — the ability of systems to
share data — between the Ministry of Defense and the individual services.
n Providing NATO-standard fiber-optic networks for the Ministry of Defense
In Poland, the team is expected to define and build a C4I infrastructure,
but the program's future is uncertain. "We've submitted our proposal, but
there have been some funding problems in Poland, so it's sort of been going
back and forth," said Eric Goodman, a project leader on the team.
Officials from the Philippines recently approached the special projects
office about the possibility of doing similar work.
"We just got a request two weeks ago from the Philippines to conduct
an engineering study, and we've just submitted our proposal for the initial
stage," Goodman said June 21.
Also in January, the team helped the Czech Ministry of Defense's information
and technology directorate develop requirements to connect their personnel
information system with local and remote infrastructures at five locations
throughout the country.
Before turning its attention abroad, the team helped the U.S. Southern
Command move its C4I infrastructure and supporting command center from Panama
to Miami. It is also assisted in the Special Operations Command's move from
Panama to the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station, Puerto Rico.
"Though it is a 20th century building on the outside, it's pure 21st-century
inside," said Gen. Charles Wilhelm, the Southern Command's commander in
chief, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new facility. "The advanced
information systems enable fewer people to influence more activities over
a longer distance than has ever been possible before."