Communication Key During Crisis Response Exercise

Story Number: NNS071109-14Release Date: 11/9/2007 8:27:00 AM
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By Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Heather Ewton, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- Communications were crucial to the success of the humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR) exercise held in Bahrain and the Persian Gulf Nov. 1-7.

A team of technology specialists from Joint Communications Support Element (JCSE) provided a quick and stable set up of communications during the HA/DR exercise led by Commander Task Force (CTF) 59 and coalition forces.

"The scenario challenged us to provide a communications network so personnel can contact who they need to from USS Wasp (LHD 1), which was the acting command platform, or [U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet] Headquarters," said Sgt. Ryan Waller, JCSE detachment team chief for the exercise. "There are many moving parts to our equipment, and we provide state-of-the-art-technology."

During the scenario, the QRFT simulated deploying to a regional country in distress and showcased the ability to respond anywhere in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility within 24 hours to make communications available including telephone, video teleconference, and secure and non-secure internet connections.

"When we go ashore, setting up communications in order for our commander to maintain decision superiority is mission critical," said Lt. Cmdr. Dennis Cameron, CTF 59 communications officer. "Getting the communications suite and command center operational to maintain situational awareness requires experts to come in and set up immediately. The JCSE folks are the best trained and most skillful communicators in the world."

The exercise scenario required coalition forces to provide HA/DR following a tropical cyclone that devastated a notional regional nation, destroying its critical infrastructure, shutting down its international airport, desalination and electrical plants, and displacing thousands of citizens. Additionally, the scenario included an oil spill from a damaged tanker at sea.

JCSE has the capability to provide tactical communication packages in support of combat operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief worldwide, while remaining operationally ready to provide support to two joint task forces and two joint special operation task forces.

For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet, visit

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