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NJNG Fields State-Of-The-Art Commo Gear
Photos and story by Sgt. 1st Class Robert Stephenson, NJDMAVA/PA

One area of concern for first responders to major incidents, whether terrorist or otherwise, has always been communications.

This was never more evident than one year ago when the Gulf Coast was hit by two natural disasters, Katrina and Rita. From federal agencies, including the active and reserve military, through state resources all the way down to local police, communicating effectively was a major effort.

Sgt. 1st Class Robert Panfile, foreground, and Sgt. 1st Class Steven Katkics disassemble the antenna head at the conclusion of the exercise.

With the National Guard on point for Homeland Security, a solution is in the works that would utilize the Guard to field a communications system, called the Joint Incident Site Communications Capability platform (JISCC). JISCC would provide a rapid-deploy communications infrastructure to support onsite command-and-control communications for the military and for local first responders whose own communications systems might be affected during a major emergency.

Maj. Jeff Brownlee, Director of Support for the Joint Training and Training Development Center (JT2DC), has been tasked with putting together a team that will field the new communications gear.

“We would be communicating with our Joint Operations Center (JOC) in New Jersey,” notes Brownlee, in explaining a typical scenario. “At the incident site we would provide interoperability for all the first responders. We can tie all their communications into one system so that fire, police, emergency management rescue, and the military could all talk to each other on different systems but all on the same network.”

The platform, which consists of four separate modules that could fit into a single Humvee, contains everything needed to communicate over varying spectrums, according to Brownlee.

“We have satellite connectivity, internet connectivity, we can do a VTC (Video Teleconferencing), and we have VHF radios that we can use at the incident site, along with FM and 800 Megahertz capability.”

New Jersey is the 18th state to roll out the new system, and training began in early October for Brownlee and his team. Plans are to be ready to respond to a major incident sometime early next year according to Brownlee.

Table of Contents

Volume 32 Number 5
Staff / Information
(c) 2006 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs