A small team within Modernisation Branch at AHQ lead Army's efforts to become a modern and digitised joint land force. Digitisation is the Chief of Army's highest modernisation priority and this year has seen Army make significant progress under the sponsorship of the Land C3 Program. This program will have the greatest impact on the future of RA Sigs as the corps seeks to modernise in lockstep with Army modernisation.
2016 Achievements and Milestones
The importance of modernised mission command capabilities have never been more important and further progress has been this year made towards the realisation of a digitally enabled joint land force. Throughout 2016, Army's ability to effectively integrate with partner forces via sophisticated networks has been tested and proven through Ex HAMEL 16, the US Army Warfighting Assessment (AWA) conducted in Fort Bliss, Texas, and numerous other test and evaluation milestones. Significant modernisation events will continue in 2017, expanding the breadth and sustainability of modern C3 systems being delivered.
The first use of vehicle mounted Command Post Modules delivered by Land 121 gave a greater insight to the future of mounted C3 systems as new vehicle fleets are introduced into service. Increased mobility and survivability in the battlespace remains a key challenge for the future land force, and one that is fundamentally dependent upon C3. Ex HAMEL 16 involved the largest digital Tactical Communications Network and BGC3 Battle Management System (BMS) deployment to date. Successful pre-configuration and implementation of the Digital Theatre Gateway by the 1 CSR Network Support Section enabled valuable time efficiencies during force preparation. Streamlining the pre-deployment procedures for supported force elements will ultimately support the organisational maturation of, and confidence in, digital C3 capabilities.
The Land Network Integration Centre (LNIC) led the planning of increasingly large tactical networks whilst reducing complexity for the end-user within an Area of Operations. The Mission Secret Network (MSN) also underwent the next iteration of employment on Ex HAMEL 16, increasing Army's exposure and further validating the need for a Mission Partner Environment hosted on the Enhanced Deployed Local Area Network (EDLAN) platform.
Supporting a diverse range of partner nations across multiple domains is progressively becoming a reality, and was proven through 7 Combat Brigade participation in the AWA.
"The MSN suite used by 7 Bde meant that there was a common system used by headquarters staff for common services and for the Common Operating Picture. The MSN also allowed 7 Bde users to have a single operational system as opposed to traditional use of DSN, DRN, a coalition system and a Battle Management System."
Army Satellite Communications (SATCOM) achieved important milestones in 2016, with the declaration of an Initial Operating Capability for the JP 2008, Phase 5B1.1 terminals. This project will continue to progress in 2017, with the scheduled transition from FDMA to an initial TDMA capability once strategic anchoring TDMA capability becomes available from CIOG upgrades, and major capital project investment delivery.
In 2017 The CURRAWONG Battlefield Telecommunications Network (BTN) will be delivered under project Land 2072-2B to complete replacement of the Project PARAKEET fleet of equipment. Concurrently, delivery and introduction into service of EDLAN will present numerous opportunities for RA Sigs to increase flexibility and improve services provided to supported force elements both in domestic and deployed environments. This capability will provide the platform from which to facilitate a true Mission Partner Environment. Further progression of the tactical BMS will compliment these operational level capabilities, with LAND 200 Phase 2 scheduled for final government approval and contract signature in 2017.
Tribute to Captain Nicholas William Duncan
The Evaluation Tool was but one of many significant contributions Nick made to The Defence Force School of Signals and Defence as a whole. Nick built the online Signaller Magazine, he built a resource booking tool, an electrical inspection database and redesigned DFSS' Military Risk Management Database. Lastly, I would just like to talk about Nick as I knew him. Nick was an extremely intelligent man with a wicked sense of humour but most of all I consider him a friend. Nick often talked to me about Katie (his partner) and how they where planning their future together. Nick mentioned how he had recently gone from a sole trader in his civilian life and joined forces with two partners to form a new company called Tecknack IT Solutions. Nick was very polite, astute, loved a challenge and the word "can't" never seemed to be part of his vocabulary when it came to finding a solution to a problem.
More than anything else though (and I can honesty say this with my hand on my heart) Nick was so proud to wear the uniform and be a member of the RASIGS Corps and the Australain Army.
Nick passed away on the 18 February 2016 at age 33. his passing has had a profound effect on me and many of those who worked with him. Nevertheless, I am comforted by some of the fantastic memories of times we spent together in the office.
OC EW Wing DFSS, Major Tam Mooney, dons the lycra again for a worthy cause
OC Electronic Warfare Wing at the Defence Force School of Signals Electronic Warfare Wing (DFSS-EWW) MAJ Tam Mooney completed a static bike ride from September 1-30 to raise money, and awareness, for HeartKids Australia. He said he completed about 100km a day depending on work commitments. "It's not the first time I have done endurance events," he said. "I completed a ride from Cabarlah to Canberra in 2010 in support of cancer research. "I generally complete endurance rides such as the Victoria Three Peaks, but they are completed in a day - 3000km on a static bike proved challenging." MAJ Mooney said the hardest part of the ride was boredom. "It's a static ride and generally spent on my own, although a couple of people have jumped on a bike beside me and kept me company," he said. MAJ Mooney said he chose HeartKids Australia as his favoured charity because, like most people, it wasn't until you were affected that you took notice. "I have close friends, Sharyn, a serving RAAF warrant officer and her husband Dave, whose young daughter Eden was born with a serious heart defect and has had a number of major surgeries in her first year of life," he said. "She will continue to need further surgery as she gets older and her life expectancy, well, no-one really knows. "I caught up with Sharyn, Dave, their son Kai and Eden in Melbourne a few months ago at the Children's Hospital where Eden had her operations. "I also met a young New Zealand family whose son recently had a heart transplant and I was completely dumbstruck by the resolve of the parents and the tenacity of the kids." MAJ Mooney said he understood Heart Kids Australia received no government funding. "So the donations provide mechanisms to support families and provide funding for research," he said. MAJ Mooney's target was $3000 but raised $4050 and the pain was worth every penny. MAJ Mooney posts to Regional Training Wing in 2017 and intends to complete a ride from Brisbane to Melbourne around September, in aid of the Lupus Foundation. Static bikes are out!
Major Tam Mooney
Australian Regular Army
Officer Commanding, Electronic Warfare Wing
Defence Force School of Signals