Support for Operation Allies Welcome (OAW) has taken many forms, including technological and financial support through Fort McCoy’s Network Enterprise Center and Resource Management Office.
When NEC received news of the OAW mission in August 2021, the first challenge was to rapidly increase network capacity and connectivity to meet the mission’s requirements.
“The NEC immediately began expanding network connectivity into OAW support areas to include the extension of commercial internet and unclassified networks to multiple buildings to provide expanded network access for interagency, nongovernmental and military support units working in support of OAW operations are intended,” said NEC director John Baltich.
NEC also assisted Task Force McCoy and the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program in expanding wireless internet and access points for the Afghan guests, enabling them to reconnect with friends and family. Expanded Internet access also improved the ability to effectively process the guest population quickly and efficiently, Baltich said.
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NEC staff provided ongoing support by responding to ongoing technical or communications issues that arose when OAW support personnel arrived on site, Baltich said. One example was expanding support for video conference calls, including on weekends, to encourage collaboration. NEC staff also created additional Army network accounts for units coming to Task McCoy for OAW.
Support was available 24 hours a day via Fort McCoy NEC to allow for quick responses to critical mission support needs, Baltich said.
“Overall, the IT and communications support provided by NEC would not have been possible without the full commitment of all NEC personnel, as well as the cooperation and support of the Office of Task Force G6, 7th Signals Command, 106th Signals Brigade ARNORTH G6 , and all Mission Partners and Directorates in the Fort McCoy garrison,” said Baltich.
Baltich said he would also like to recognize Tim Simonson, NEC Business and Operations Division Chief, and Sherm Thayer, Network Operations Specialist, for their critical roles in supporting the OAW mission.
Every mission requires money, and RMO played a crucial role in ensuring garrison organizations had the funds needed to quickly support OAW.
“RMO was there from the beginning,” said Maureen Richardson, former director of resource management. “The budget officer and RMO head attended every planning meeting and made sure that cardholder limits were increased. … We created accounting lines in the financial systems and coordinated with higher headquarters to obtain resources for the mission.”
As the mission continued, RMO established a cell at Task Force McCoy headquarters, which became a feeder location for the garrison, 88th Ready Division and 181st Multifunction Training Brigade offices to make purchases, amend contracts and assist with the to help fund soldier payments. said Richardson.
Richardson said she would like to recognize RMO’s Matt Schroeder and Mike Jensen for their hard work in supporting OAW. “(They) adapted quickly to take on new and ever-changing roles,” she said.
In Photos: Fort McCoy and Volk Field over the years