Four U.S. Army Soldiers from the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa communications directorate held an Africa Data Sharing Network, version two, information exchange with Djibouti Armed Forces (FAD) soldiers Dec. 26, at FAD Headquarters in Djibouti.
The ADSN works as an internal network that the African Union Mission in Somalia troop-contributing countries can use to communicate and share information amongst each other.
The network gives the users video and voice calling capabilities between themselves and U.S. forces at various locations. In addition to video and voice calling, the system provides teleconferencing capability.
“Prior to this, there wasn’t as good of a system to directly transmit information in this manner,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jerry Alvarez, communications directorate NCO in charge, deployed to CJTF-HOA from Sacramento, California. “This system will replace slower versions and will bring their communication game to a new level.”
Although Alvarez is in charge of the small group that exchanges information with countries across the CJTF-HOA combined joint operations area and other areas of interest, he relies almost solely on his team to do the hands-on instruction. One Soldier, whose first name falls in line with the Army’s core value of excellence, is U.S. Army Spc. Legend Khotsombath.
Legend said exchanging information using the satellite will save many lives and promote quick ways to combat terrorism, but for him, one of the most rewarding experiences is working with different cultures.
“It’s like meeting a new brother,” Legend said. “The Djiboutian soldiers are always welcoming and ready to be partners in the War on Terror or anything we are partnering to combat. Being brothers only makes us more successful in the combined mission.”
Legend said the system they are currently teaching has been a success with other countries due to their willingness to learn, despite language and geographical barriers.
“Everyone has the same goal - maximize our personnel and minimize casualties,” Legend said.
FAD Lt. Elmi Moussa, chief communication officer, Sector 4, Beledweyne, Somalia, worked as an interpreter throughout the exchange. His soldiers trained to operate the system they are learning when they redeploy to Somalia.
“It has been years since we have had training or a system like this,” Moussa said. “With the new system, we can communicate the best information more clearly for the commanders and operators who rely on it. Having U.S. Soldiers who are the very best in their field is a great opportunity for us to excel.”