March 15, 2017 –
An Army Reserve unit based in Vicenza, Italy spent a two-week exercise ensuring NATO allies and American forces could communicate and work together.
The 2500th Digital Liaison Detachment, a 7th Mission Support Command unit, completed exercise Dynamic Front II, a multi-national exercise that focuses on identifying capabilities and limitations within the theater-level fires system by testing and syncing multi-echelon fires.
The 2500th was joined by one Soldier from the 209th DLD, another 7th MSC unit headquartered in Wiesbaden, Germany, for the exercise they attended as their annual training event for the year.
The DLDs worked with American Air Force and Navy personnel, as well as military members from the United Kingdom, Romania, Canada, Denmark, Italy, France and Germany, said Maj. Chiara Turcato, a section chief in the 2500th and officer in change for this exercise.
“This has been a great training event, and we hope we can continue down this path,” she said.
The unit provided computer systems and expertise that ensured NATO allies could communicate with each other during the exercise.
The DLD synchronizes data between U.S. mission command systems and coalition, allied and partner networks to provide functional area expertise.
“We provide liaison capabilities at the division and corps level,” Turcato said.
Staff Sgt. Ladislav Pecsuk operated the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System operator. He used the computer system to monitor and coordinate all the exercise fire support missions, of which there were more than 500.
“I ran dynamic fire missions at core level, at the brigade level and at the battalion level,” he said.
Not all the computer systems talked to each other, he added. In one case, he hand-entered Excel spreadsheets manually into the AFATDS system so the information could be shared across the coalition.
The workflow was heavy and constant throughout Dyanmic Front, Pecsuk said.
Another Soldier, Capt. Matthew McDaniel, played a key role as the exercise’s Command Post of the Future Operator. McDaniel maintained a real-time common operating picture for the exercise and the commanding general and his staff.
He created multiple maps and overlays that showed where forces were located, Turcato said.
In so doing, McDaniel had to work across multiple systems and constantly ensure the information was up to date in real time.
“This is the level we want to continue to operate on,” Turcato said. “This is the first time we plugged into an operation like this.”
Last year, the unit took part in Anakonda 16 in Poland. They worked with one country, Hungary, and used one Polish computer network to communicate through Command Web, she said.
This year, they brought three separate computer systems with them, and had to integrate with at least seven countries, she added.
The 2500th has been preparing for this mission during the battle assemblies in Vicenza, Turcato said.
Nevertheless, the Soldiers had to be flexible by providing three non-commissioned officers to be part of the exercise mayor’s cell, assisting in coordination of life support, including food, billeting and other necessities to all the Dynamic Front participants.
The biggest challenge was integrating information from all the different computer systems at the beginning of the exercise.
“We overcame pretty much every obstacle, mostly being engaged on a personal level,” Pecsuk added.
The Soldiers enjoyed the exercise, Turcato said, adding many were looking forward to upcoming similar events.