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DISA Liaison Officers Introduce APAN as Solution during Exercise Balikatan

This year marked a major milestone for the Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA) support of Exercise Balikatan in the Philippines.  In past years, the primary focus of DISA’s participation was terrestrial gateway support. This year, support was provided for the use of a range of enterprise services — including the DISA-managed enterprise unclassified information sharing system, All Partners Access Network (APAN).

Joint and combined Exercise Balikatan is an annual training event that exercises and enhances the interoperability between U.S. forces and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The event, based in the Luzon region of the Philippines, consists of humanitarian and civil assistance projects, a humanitarian aid/ disaster relief command post exercise event, and various combined military field training exercise events.

In support of Exercise Balikatan 2013, the DISA Pacific (PAC) Field Command’s Contingency and Exercise Branch deployed two liaison officers (LNOs) — one in the Air Force and one in the Navy — to the Balikatan Joint Exercise Support Group (JESG).  Their role was to serve as subject matter experts and advisors in matters regarding DoD Information Network (DoDIN) services.

After months of support preparation — which included planning gateway access for six exercise communications nodes — the LNOs deployed to Manila, Philippines, in support of the exercise.  

One of the LNOs arrived in Manila a week before the exercise started to support the JESG with the initial implementation of gateway services and resolution of any unforeseen complications with service activation. The second LNO arrived a day prior to the start of the exercise with a mission to augment communications support and expand it to twenty-four hours daily.

Due to an equipment failure, there was a delay in establishing the Coalition Wide Area Network (COWAN) — the temporary network that serves as the primary command and control (C2) construct for a coalition exercise/mission.  

In order to keep the exercise on track, DISA’s LNOs identified APAN — a DISA managed enterprise service which provides an unclassified, non-dot-mil collaboration environment that is accessible through the commercial internet and can be used by those who do not have ready access to traditional DoD systems and networks (e.g. coalition partners and non-government organizations) — as an alternative solution.

APAN was used as the primary collaboration medium for the field training exercise and humanitarian and civil assistance projects, even after the COWAN was fully established. The APAN solution allowed the Armed Forces of the Philippines operational forces to post and review exercise products through the Internet, without the restriction of having a COWAN connection.  

DISA support was also provided by one of the Defense Enterprise Computing Centers; the Global Gateway Support Desk; the DISA PAC Global Service Desk; and additional personnel at the DISA PAC field command.

For additional information about the All Partners Access Network (APAN), please visit the service website.



Posted June 26, 2013