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Network Enterprise Technology Command [NETCOM]

The U.S. Army Signal Command (ASC) provides information services vital to the defense of the United States worldwide. ASC Provides the support that the war fighting commanders need to win the information war and fight successfully on forward battlefields. From its headquarters here, ASC directs the activities of some 15,000 soldiers and civilians in more than a dozen nations around the world. ASC is a subordinate element of the U.S. Army Forces Command.

Powerful NETCOM information networks pipe an ever-increasing amount of voice and data messages throughout the world. Video teleconferencing allows a forward-deployed commander to talk face-to-face with his support units in the United States no matter where he or she is in the world. NETCOM soldiers and civilians are developing, fielding, installing, and maintaining the best echelons above corps communications systems.

This network keeps information flowing and allows soldiers and their leaders to make the split second decisions required on the modern battlefield. Because it is an integrated network operated by one organization and managed from one place by the same organization, it is virtually seamless and very responsive to the needs of the users.

NETCOM soldiers and organizations are ready and able to deploy when and where needed to provide the vital services required to aid the war fighters in the successful completion of their missions. Haiti, Panama, Somalia, Bosnia, and Desert Shield and Desert Storm are fitting examples of the success of NETCOM communications. Add to these Hurricane Iniki and other natural disasters and a full picture of the capabilities of the NETCOM is apparent.

Regardless of whether the user is an infantry commander in the midst of a war or a federal agency in the midst of a flood or hurricane, NETCOM provides the required communications seamlessly in the least time possible. In a large part, the success of fighting commanders in future operations depends on the acquisition and use of information. NETCOM will make it possible for that information to be acquired and handled quickly and accurately.

The USANETCOM commanding general, who is also the Forces Command (FORSCOM) G-6 (or signal officer) directs the activities of soldiers and civilians stationed around the world. The command plays a critical role in strategic communications, thus assisting FORSCOM and warfighting commanders-in-chief to meet the challenges of the 21st century. All warfighter support requirements are tasked through FORSCOM to USANETCOM. In turn, each forward-deployed command or brigade serves the warfighting commander-in-chief in its geographical area, while power projection forces based in the continental United States remain ready for taskings. Signal force projection, USANETCOM's contribution to a smaller, more capable Army, is critical toward successful implementation of Force XXI.

The USANETCOM continues to support a continental United States-centered Army capable of executing a force projection mission through its integrated, worldwide theater tactical information assets; a tailored engineering and installation capability; and an evolving network systems management capability that allows the warfighter to optimize existing combat service support and management information systems. In theaters outside the continental United States, the USANETCOM provides the total spectrum of information services through centralized operation and maintenance of European, Southwest Asian, Pacific, and Central American strategic, theater, tactical, and sustaining base information systems.

Army Knowledge Online [AKO] is the Army's latest attempt to consolidate useful information sources and educational programs under a single Web site that can be accessed by every active-duty, reserve or National Guard soldier. Those eligible to receive an AKO account include active-duty, reserve and National Guard soldiers, family members, Army civilians and contractors. A password is required to access the system. With 1.1 million users, the AKO is considered one of the world's largest intranets. The agency in charge of the AKO portal is the Army's Network Command, in Fort Huachuca, AZ.

9th Army Signal Command

The 9th Army Signal Command traces its heritage back to its constitution as the 9th Service Company on Feb. 14, 1918, and its organization two months later in Honolulu, Hawaii. From Hawaii the command discharged its combined installation and maintenance missions for telegraph, telephone and coastal artillery fire control communications. A captain, five corporals and 15 privates first class filled the manpower requirements of the new unit. Detached soldiers of the 9th Service Company also served on Oahu at Fort Shafter, Schofield Barracks, Fort Ruger, Fort Armstrong, Fort Kamehameha, Hickam Field, Luke Field and Tripler General Hospital.

The 9th Signal Service Company moved its unit headquarters from Honolulu to Fort Shafter in 1921. Operations remained in a status quo for most of the next two decades, though at some point the 9th picked up responsibility for heavy cable construction within the Hawaiian Department. In 1925, the War Department began experimental work in the use of high frequency radio. Four years later, in May 1929, the 9th implemented radio traffic with the mainland and Manila. In August 1930, 9th Signal also established direct radio contact with the War Department station in Washington, D.C.

Signal operations at Fort Shafter shifted with a sudden alarm on Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. By 1942, the 9th Signal Service Company's mission expanded as conflict dictated, and the unit began to furnish radio operators going out to Christmas, Canton, and Fanning Islands. It also supplied radio operators for transports sailing between San Francisco and Hawaii and for boats plying between the islands of the Hawaiian Territory itself.

In April 1943, the unit was re-designated as the 972nd Signal Service Company and on Jan. 8, 1944, was reorganized as a battalion and designated as the 972nd Signal Service Battalion. Its strength then stood at 643 personnel. By this time, the unit was reassigned to the U. S. Army Forces, Central Pacific Area. The expanding offensive in the Pacific and the consequent growth in signal requirements demanded a reallocation of theater signal resources. The 972nd Signal Service Battalion became the "wire battalion." Its mission was to furnish personnel capable of handling the installation and maintenance of communications for the Wire Division of the Signal Office, Central Pacific Area. Though major elements of the battalion were employed on the Island of Oahu, detachments were set up on the Islands of Hawaii, Maui and Kauai.

The Central Pacific Base Command awarded the 972nd Signal Service Battalion the Meritorious Service Unit Plaque (later renamed the Meritorious Unit Commendation), for superior performance of exceptionally difficult tasks for the period March 1, 1945, to April 30, 1945. The battalion also earned the Central Pacific campaign streamer for the period 1941-1943. The battalion's Signal Photographic Detachment was awarded the Eastern Mandates campaign streamer as well.

In January 1947, the battalion was reorganized and enlarged to a strength of 760. With this change, Headquarters Detachment, and Companies A and B were added to the battalion. In June 1948, the battalion was again reorganized - this time adding a headquarters company to replace the headquarters detachment. In July 1948, the battalion requested, and the Department of the Army later approved, the designation of Jan. 8 as the Unit Day for the 972nd based on the assumption of battalion status. Three months later, post war organizational reductions in force featured the first of several inactivation's for the battalion at Fort Shafter, Territory of Hawaii.

A decade later, in May 1958, the Chief of Signal ordered the 972nd Signal Battalion back to active service, this time not overseas but at Tobyanna Signal Depot, Pa. It was formally activated on May 14, 1958, as the 972nd Signal Battalion (Supply and Maintenance). The unit consisted of only a headquarters element with no assigned companies. In July 1962, the 972nd was reassigned from the Chief Signal Officer to Second United States Army. Three years later, in May 1965, it reorganized from a headquarters detachment to a headquarters company.

In August 1965, the 972nd was alerted for overseas shipment back to the Pacific. This time it was not going to be the beautiful Hawaiian Islands, but to the war torn shores of South Vietnam. While on its first tour in Vietnam, from September 1965, to October 1967, the unit operated signal depots as well as signal supply and maintenance points. It provided semi-fixed general support and mobile-fixed support for signal equipment. It was located at Qui Nhon and attached to the U. S. Army Support Command there. The 972nd was inactivated for a second time on Oct. 20, 1967, in Vietnam. This time, inactive status was short-lived and the unit was activated again in May 1968 at Fort Lewis, Wash., where its soldiers trained for a short five months prior to the unit's second deployment to Vietnam in October. Meanwhile, U.S. Army Vietnam awarded the 972nd its second Meritorious Unit Commendation in August 1968 for meticulous attention to detail in planning and monitoring signal logistics support for 13 major combat operations. The 972nd also earned four campaign streamers for its first tour in Vietnam.

The newly organized 972nd Signal Battalion arrived at Long Binh, Vietnam on Oct. 29, 1968, and was assigned to the 2nd Signal Group, 1st Signal Brigade, U.S. Army Strategic Communications Command, to provide contingency communications support throughout the Republic of Vietnam. In November 1968, the 107th Signal Company (Support) was assigned to the battalion. The 107th was a federalized Rhode Island Army National Guard unit called up for Vietnam. Later that month, the 972nd gained the 267th Signal Company (Cable Construction) and the 327th Signal Company (Radio Relay).

During October 1969, as a third inactivation loomed for the 972nd, the battalion transferred control of the 267th and 327th Signal Companies to the 39th Signal Battalion, 2d Signal Group. Also in October, the 107th Signal Company was released for redeployment to the continental United States. Later that month, despite the battalion's imminent inactivation, the 972nd assumed control over the 324th Signal Company (Support). Then, in late November 1969, the Army inactivated the 972nd in conjunction with the phased redeployment of U.S. Army Forces from South Vietnam. During this tour in Vietnam, the battalion earned six more Vietnam campaign streamers.

For the next 28 years, the unit remained dormant on the Army's inactive list. Then on Sept. 16, 1997, from the ashes of inactivation, the phoenix rose again. Originally designated the 9th Signal Service Company, the 972nd Signal Battalion materialized on the regular Army's active rolls yet again, this time as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 9th Army Signal Command, a major subordinate command assigned to U.S. Army Forces Command.

The largest deployable signal organization in the regular Army, the 9th Army Signal Command enjoys a second, albeit unofficial, lineage. It traces its operational mission heritage at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., through its immediate predecessor, U.S. Army Information Systems Command, back to U.S. Army Communications Command and ultimately to U.S. Army Strategic Communications Command. In fact, the soldiers of Army Signal Command wear the shoulder sleeve (patch) and distinctive unit insignia (crest) of USAISC/USACC/USASTRATCOM in preference to the 9th/972nd Signal organizations of the organization's official lineage.

Since its most recent activation, the Army Signal Command has continued to pursue the signal specific operational objectives of USAISC, providing long-haul communications systems for large military elements. In addition, Army Signal Command has committed itself, without reservation, to strengthen Army command, control and communications reliability, connecting theater and field commanders with the Pentagon and National Command Authority in Washington, D.C.

In 1998, Army Signal Command established Project Info-guard - the Army's network intrusion detection program - and the Army Network Systems and Operations Center, to supervise the protection of Army computer networks and critical information. As a new millennium unfolds, follow-on development and integration of Theater Network Systems and Operations Centers, the Army Computer Emergency Response Team and Regional Computer Emergency Response Teams enable USASC to further upgrade the protection, availability, confidentiality and integrity of Army information assurance systems. And, the command is performing that mission on a global scale. Finally, in conjunction with a turn-of-the-century Army wide transformation initiative, Army Signal Command has embarked upon a contingency package upgrade program to render the mobility of its units smaller and much more rapidly deployable.



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