The Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Atlantic is a shore-based telecommunications hub whose mission is to provide reliable, secure and non-secure voice, data and
video platforms to the fleet. The communicators of Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron Two (MSRON 2) work in a different environment and with different equipment than NCTAMS LANT Sailors. But NCTAMS LANT's goal is to be a deployable communications resource to MSRON 2.
Recently, four Sailors from NCTAMS LANT, Information Systems Technician Seamen (ITSN) Barrett Hamm, Marcus Ellis, Zachary Dickerson and Dalton McCabe, were given the opportunity to spend a week training with MSRON 2 to learn the capabilities and limitations of an expeditionary unit and expand their knowledge of Navy communications.
The first portion of the week was spent training with the "mast" portion of MSRON 2’s communicators. In this segment of the training, NCTAMS LANT Sailors learned how to set up a field communications hub. They also learned how to operate the AN/USC-60 satellite terminal, which the
Sailors of MSRON 2 use in an operational environment. Training included the set up of connections between the system and various multiplexers, enabling connectivity to Internet Protocol platforms.
During the second portion of the training, NCTAMS LANT personnel trained with the "ops" portion of MSRON 2’s communicators. NCTAMS LANT’s Sailors assembled and ran cables for the AN/USC-67 suite. The suite was used for both data and voice services while running on a battery in the field.
Beyond operation and use of different types of mobile satellite communications suites, the Sailors of NCTAMS LANT had an opportunity to learn some of the tough challenges for an expeditionary communicator, such as the need to set up tents and security barriers and checkpoints.
Physical security for information systems is too easily taken for granted when operating on a military base in the continental United States, where much of the responsiblity for physical security
is left to base operations. This is not a luxury afforded to an expeditionary communicator.
The ultimate goal of the engagement was to enable personnel from each command to work together and, in the words of ITSN Hamm, "See and talk about what each other sees."
Sailors from each command were able to learn about the unique challenges and troubleshooting capabilities and limitations each must face in their goal of providing an effective warfighting platform.
It was also a learning experience. In the words of ITSN Ellis, "I loved it. I got the chance to experience a different side of the IT rate and really learned a lot."
Lt. Peter Beardsley is a NCTAMSLANT Joint Fleet Telecommunications Operations Center (JFTOC) watch officer.