FORT BELVOIR, VA –
Two members of the Defense Logistics Agency Contingency Information Technology team are in Australia supporting the agency’s participation in the Talisman Sabre 2019 exercise.
John Simon and Charles James deployed to Australia at the end of June to prepare the setup of operational communications for the DLA Distribution team participating in the multinational exercise. The two are responsible for providing secure, remote access to DLA data and voice services for the 19 members of the DLA Distribution Expeditionary Depot on the ground. Simon and James provide this access through the use of satellite communications, and they also provide direct, hands-on support for any IT-related needs.
IT support plays a crucial role in the success of the DLA team and the overall exercise, Simon said, noting that DLA Distribution’s goal is to process and consolidate shipments, alleviating extensive manual labor during load outs and sorting on the ships before departure. Reliable IT and communication technology are vital to accomplishing that mission, he said.
“We are the assurance to our DDXX customers,” Simon said. “Communications as a whole is very dynamic, and we endure many different challenges for every mission. Our immediate response and proactive approach to resolve issues is what makes our presence an asset that cannot be left out.”
As part of the Contingency IT Team, Simon and James are used to working in challenging environments with high operational tempos. The beginning of operations are usually the most intense, as the team works to set up initial communications depending on the terrain, mission requirements and customer needs, Simon said. In the case of Talisman Sabre, the team hasn’t had to face any extreme environmental conditions, because it’s winter in Australia and they have good facilities to work from, but they have adjusted their schedules and support to accommodate the fast-paced, multifaceted exercise.
The Contingency IT Team is DLA Information Operations’ front line asset, with technicians ready to deploy within as little as 12 hours to support agency missions around the world. Like in the case of Simon and James, the technicians travel in teams of two – one network specialist and one operations specialist – so they are highly trained and adaptable, not only working to establish tactical network connections, but also acting as project managers and liaisons to meet customers’ needs.