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‘BRO’ pilots new C4ISR field support structure

By Robert Dimichele | CECOM PUBLIC AFFAIRS | July 24, 2014

Fort Riley’s self-sufficiency will increase as a result of a partnership between the 1st Infantry Division and the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center of Excellence.

This partnership will teach the skills needed by Soldiers in the field to maintain, troubleshoot and repair mission essential C4ISR equipment.

The C4ISR Center of Excellence includes the Communications-Electronics Command, the Program Executive Offices for Command, Control, and Communications Tactical, Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, Enterprise Information Systems and the Communications, Engineering, Research and Development Center.

The Center is rolling out a new field support model that doesn’t eliminate or reduce capabilities but reorganizes how they are deployed in the field. The intent is to facilitate gradual, deliberate shifts in C4ISR field support staff across the force, while prioritizing Soldier training and readiness.

“We’re thrilled to be out in front on this,” Lt. Col. Patricia Sayles, assistant chief of staff, Division G-6, 1st Inf. Div. “The new C4ISR field structure is going to be a good thing – it supports Soldiers, it better aligns to shifting mission requirements, and will expedite operator and maintenance tasks across the board.”

Moving forward, field support personnel will be arranged into brigade teams, division teams and regionalized support that consists of a combination of staff with various skill sets.

CECOM logistics assistance representatives are multifunctional Department of the Army civilians that advise, assist and train in all areas of logistics and support commanders in attaining and sustaining materiel readiness. They also assist with field-level maintenance and provide technical support.

PEO C3T digital system engineers are Department of the Army civilians that provide training and technical assistance on unit-owned C4ISR equipment.

Select C4ISR Multifunctional field support representatives and engineers are subject matter experts that assist with field-level troubleshooting and component repair, and they can also provide training, technical and maintenance support.

CECOM Trail Bosses serve as the C4ISR touch point for Division headquarters for external resources aligned to the unit.

A typical brigade combat team will have five people, including multifunctional LARs, a DSE and a system-specific field support representative. This staff will be supported by ten people at the division-level, to include the CECOM Trail Boss, four multifunctional LARs and four system-specific FSRs, and one Division DSE, as well as by other system-specific FSRs and FSEs out of Fort Hood, Texas.

“When we first examined the C4ISR field support structure, we conducted site visits at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, and the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, Louisiana, and observed home-station training events at Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Drum, New York,” said Rich Licata, PEO C3T field support manager and C4ISR Center of Excellence Field Support Integrated Project Team member. “We found that we were missing an opportunity to empower Soldiers to handle operator and maintenance level tasks, so we developed the new model, piloted it, validated it and today, we stand ready to implement.”

To support the reorganization of resources, a new workflow process is being rolled out to ensure the right checks and balances are in place as issues are identified and trouble tickets are submitted. An updated Universal Trouble Ticket System, or UTTS, SharePoint application will be launched to provide Soldiers an automated process to document and request division level and regional field support resources, further streamlining the existing incident management processes. Additionally, training needs analyses are being completed to connect units to the right training resources so that Soldiers and units are prepared.

“From the CECOM perspective, this implementation is a direct result of a multi-year effort designed to enhance our services to the field,” said Barron Williams, acting director, CECOM Field Support Directorate. “And, we’ve partnered with our C4ISR Center of Excellence counterparts, Forces Command and the Training and Doctrine Command to ensure that we provide a comprehensive solution that doesn’t just realign resources but provides the training and the tools to maintain readiness levels.”

The near-term focus will be on connecting units with training through Signal University and Mission Training Complex classes and training on the field support trouble ticket system, which occurred in June. By August and September, division-level implementation will be underway in order to prepare for collective unit-led training events scheduled for October. A validation process is planned in November to verify readiness.

“Sometimes change is hard, and that’s why in this case, we’re being careful to prepare adequately. I think we definitely have a solid plan in place,” said Maj. Patrick Sullivan, 1st Inf. Div. G-6 NETOPS officer in charge. “Overall, this will be good for the Army because it will help build a self-sufficient force and the 1st ID is excited to be leading the way.”  

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