DISA marshals support for Katrina relief operations

The Defense Information Systems Agency has marshaled its satellite communications resources to provide support for Hurricane Katrina relief operations.

It is deploying Defense Satellite Communication System gear to Camp Shelby, Miss. -- headquarters for the Defense Department's post-hurricane operations.

A DISA spokesman said satellite gear installed at Camp Shelby will provide circuits for videoconferencing, the Defense Switched Network voice system, and nonclassified and classified Internet access.

The system also provides relief personnel with the Defense Collaboration Tool Suite.

The suite offers voice and videoconferencing, document and application sharing, instant messaging, and whiteboard functions to support defense planning. It enables two or more distributed operational users to simultaneously participate in the mission planning process without being in the same location.

DISA has provided three similar systems for mission support in the wake of the hurricane, but officials did not disclose the deployment locations.

The agency has also supplied nine handheld Iridium Satellite phones for use by personnel deployed on the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan operating off the coast of Louisiana and Mississippi. The Bataan has two helicopter squadrons on board that have been flying search and rescue missions in New Orleans for three days.

DISA will also help provide satellite communications links to the hospital ship USNS Comfort when it arrives in the Gulf Coast region next week. The Comfort is equipped with a broadband satellite system that provides 1.54 megabits/sec connectivity via commercial satellite and a lower throughput when it operates via military satellites.

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