07/14/2011: During the Second Line of Defense visit to the Contingency Response Wing located at McGuire AFB, several of the components of the Wing provided presentations of their approach, capabilities and components. The Assessment Team, or the soldiers who deploy first to determine what needs to follow to set up an operating airfield in a remote location provided the first of the presentations.Sergeant Nolan initiated the presentation.
SGT. Nolan: This is the assessment team. This is their equipment. This is a seven to eight-personnel team, you have your O6 (Colonel – team lead), you have a Contingency Response Element (director of operations) officer, a civil engineering officer, an airfield management officer (or a CE NCO), security forces, comms, and then you have one or two wildcards. Depending on where you’re going, what you’re doing, that person may vary.
SLD: I see you use a toughbook.
SGT. Nolan: You have a toughbook. We have our BGAN, which gives us our Internet. http://www.ts2.pl/en/BGAN-Inmarsat
Secure and unsecure, and then it’ll also provide you with your voice secure and unsecure. Next you have our secure Harris radio for communications outside of the unit and then our PRC152, which allows us to talk amongst ourselves.Next is our drilling equipment for our assessment and construction work.I should underscore that because the assessment team is so small, they all go out and try to take a variety of equipment. And because it is small it is necessary for team members to perform multiple roles.
Senior Airman McCaskill: We would like next to talk about how we manage assets coming into the airfield as we set up operations. We are air loader specialists. We are Radio Frequency Identification specialists. We provide asset visibility by using RFID; what goes in the system, we track and trace those assets.
Senior Airman Butler: An RFID tower can be seen here. This tower connects with the BGAN to provide data from the ground to the system.
SLD: So with the RFID tags, you then can track the stuff that you’re bringing into the operation?
Senior Airman McCaskill: Yes, sir. This is our gate system. This is vital for aerial reporting. We try to trace everything existing. For example, you have a piece of cargo right here. And you put tags on them, and then input the data into the system.
SLD: Do you have any problems with the RFID tagging?
Senior Airman McCaskill: Not yet, sir.
SLD: So, you feel the confidence level is high enough that you just use it?
Senior Airman McCaskill: Yes, sir. This is our BGAN you already learned about; we can go anywhere in the world that doesn’t have Internet, we take our BGAN so we can log into the Gate System and send information up.Right now, this costs .81 cents a minute, and it sounds like a lot, but what you see here is a loopback mode. It’s not connected to the Internet. But we can still exchange information.
SLD: So, you can store it on the computer then, then you can process offline?
Senior Airman McCaskill: And then you can send it up offline.
SLD: And then, you can plug in for when you have a signal.
Senior Airman McCaskill: And push the information into the system.
SLD: So, folks can go in and see the status of the flow of the equipment?
Senior Airman McCaskill: Absolutely.
SLD: And which plane it’s on, when it’s going to come, so you get a sense of in transit time, availability. And obviously, you can work in different airbases for developing all these parts and so forth and so on.
Senior Airman McCaskill: Yes, sir. Our counterpart is Army. A lot of times, they’ll bring supplies, and they have everything you see here, and we’ll work with them and send the same information.
Senior Airman Butler: I would like to continue the RFID discussion.We’re actually on location, like he said, when we’re tracking and tracing our cargo, the RFID towers talk to each other, whatever tags on the cargo and equipment. The tags have changed over time, getting smaller. And by becoming smaller, they are a lot easier to work with as well.And we have solar panels available, in case we just don’t have electricity where we’re located, we would have this laid out and utilize it to power our towers.
SLD: So the overall point is that you have a completely mobile system to support the assessment team and the follow on insertion forces.
Senior Airman Butler: Yes, sir.