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Army November 10, 2011
By LS Paul Berry
THE Force Communications Unit
(FCU) is setting new standards for
ADF deployed operations.
The unit provides communica-
tion and information systems to all
Australian task groups under the ADF's
Middle East Headquarters, JTF 633.
This means supporting the con-
duct of operations within JTF 633
HQ, the Mentoring Task Force and
Combined Team -- Uruzgan (CT-U) in
Tarin Kot, ADF detachments in Kabul
and Kandahar, the Combined Air
Operations Centre, maritime operations
and, until recently,
the Secdet in Iraq.
CO FCU Lt-Col
Dan Bennett said the
range and distribu-
tion of the different
by the unit present-
ed challenges to his
"It's the biggest
deployed network the
ADF has ever fielded
and the most com-
plex," Lt-Col Bennett
"As we now link
into the coalition net-
works the complexity increases, so it's
quite a small unit to do a pretty big job,
in my opinion."
The majority of the 119-strong FCU
is drawn from 3CSR in Townsville,
with about one-third of personnel from
the Navy and Air Force.
Lt-Col Bennett said the triservice
nature of FCU was definitely a positive.
"The personalities involved have
been very professional across all three
services and we've been able to learn
from all the different experiences, prac-
tices, procedures and culture, which has
been a real bonus," Lt-Col Bennett said.
FCU Tarin Kot platoon commander
Lt Lindsay Taylor said the task of sup-
porting MTF and CT-U operations and
integrating with coalition networks had
"The scale of the networks here
is phenomenal. Technically, it's a bit
more challenging coming to terms with
new and unfamiliar networks, but the
guys are all really smart and they've
been able to overcome any problems,"
Lt Taylor said.
"We've got troops out at each of
the patrol bases and customers far
and wide here on base with different
requirements as well.
"We also look after all the strategic
services, amenities, internet and things
"To be put in charge and responsi-
ble for all that is an awesome opportu-
nity and I'm just so
grateful for having
the chance to do it."
Sig Mark Scott
said working at
one of the remote
MTF 3 and Afghan
(ANA) soldiers had
been a highlight of
"Out at a patrol
base we are often
the only commu-
nications person at
that node, so if the
ANA have any issues, we help them
take care of it," Sig Scott said.
"They have a totally different cul-
ture and they are very willing to learn,
you just have to know how to teach
"The biggest thing over here is you
wake up and you know you're actually
doing something -- you are making a
Lt-Col Bennett said it was testament
to the efforts and attitudes of his unit's
soldiers that they have adapted and suc-
ceeded with their mission.
"The guys have put in such an effort
to achieve the mission that we've been
set and we really have been able to
provide a consistent level of communi-
cations to support the conduct of opera-
tions," Lt-Col Bennett said.
a big job
"It's the biggest
the ADF has every
fielded and the
-- Lt-Col Dan Bennett,
On the net: Sig Mark Scott is part of the Force Communications Unit and helps maintain communications
links for Australian and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.
Photo by LS Paul Berry
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