By Scott Baltic, Managing Editor
The National Guard Bureau, through its Joint Incident Site Communications Capability (JISCC) program, as of late March has accepted 16 of an eventual 32 Mobile Incident Site Command trailers. These JISCC systems are deployable over ground and by air, enabling the Guard to establish and maintain lines of communications following manmade or natural disasters.
The JISCC program (pronounced “jisk-cee”) is part of the National Guard’s Joint Continental United States Communications Support Environment (JCCSE), whose goal is to provide information-sharing and situational awareness support to National Guard members carrying out homeland defense or Defense Support of Civil Authorities missions.
All 32 units will be identical, said Matt Rinehart, director of research and development for AGT Federal <www.appliedglobal.com>, Rockledge, Fla., sole subcontractor for the prime contractor, DataPath Inc., Duluth, Ga.
A National Guard Bureau spokesperson told Homeland1.com that this latest series of trailers represents an upgrade from a group delivered in 2006, which were delivered primarily to "hurricane states."
Improvements include a redesigned interoperability module that meets NORTHCOM specs; wireless data capability that’s compatible with NORTHCOM, FEMA and National Guard deployable cell towers; and improved heating for cold-weather operations.
Unlike some similar systems that AGT Federal has previously delivered to the National Guard, these trailers are intended for transport only, with the communications gear to be set up in a hard-floored 15- by 18-foot tent. Set-up time, Rinehart told Homeland1.com, is about an hour. The trailer is a 20-foot all-aluminum, dual-axle model with a dual-purpose towing hitch. The trailer also has a 24v-to-12v converter to accommodate military-style truck electrical systems.
Fully loaded, each trailer weighs 11,200 pounds and can be deployed on a C-130 or larger cargo aircraft. In addition to the tent and hard floor and the communications gear, the equipment carried on each trailer includes two air-conditioning units and a diesel heater.
Communications equipment includes a 1.2-meter satellite dish by AvL Technologies and an iDirect satellite modem, which provides IP service end to end for better VoIP and more reliable video over IP. The network core consists of a Cisco 2811 router with two Cisco ASA 5510 firewalls for all voice and data. The
“trusted half” of the network is reserved for other DoD responders, and the other half would be allocated to all other responders. There are also 15 Cisco VoIP phones, 15 Dell 630 ATG semi-ruggedized laptops, a laser printer, a multifunction (printer/copier/scanner/fax) unit and two 32-inch Samsung LCD displays. A separate network box with a UPS and a network switch is intended to be used remotely from the tent (up to a few hundred feet away, connected with a single cable), for example at a local or county EOC or at a field CP.
The "radio side" of the comm suite includes a Motorola UHF repeater and 20 handheld radios programmed for National Guard frequencies and mutual aid frequencies, as well as one of the two portable 10-meter masts.
The "radio/voice interoperability side" of the comm set-up features six Motorola mobile radios (two VHF, two UHF and two 700–800MHz), all preprogrammed for the same frequencies as the 20 handhelds. It also includes an HF radio for access to military and ham frequencies; an all-band scanner; a JPS Raytheon ACU-1000 interoperability unit, with JPS’s Wide Area Interoperability Software, which can link multiple JISCC units using a satellite backbone; and the other portable 10-meter mast, with a custom antenna.
Electrical power is provided by three 7.5kw Powertech diesel generators, a single one of which can power all the unit’s communications gear. The second generator would typically be used for air-conditioning, leaving the third as a spare or for remote equipment. The lighting is integrated with the tent; shock-absorbent halogen lights and distributed power outlets are prewired overhead and in the tent walls.