News: Task Force Devil shuts down network
by Sgt. Kandi Huggins
1st Advise and Assist Task Force Public Affairs
1st Infantry Division, U.S. Division-North
CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE WARRIOR, Iraq -- If one visited Contingency Operating Site Warrior, Iraq, in the fall of 2010 and returned now, they would see a mirrored image of soldiers walking around with ‘The Big Red One’ and ‘Old Ironsides’ patches representing the 1st Infantry and 1st Armored Divisions.
Unlike the fall of 2010, when the 1st Advise and Assist Task Force, 1st Inf. Div., took over the advise, train and assist mission in Kirkuk, Iraq, from the ‘Ready First Task Force’, 1st Armored Div., they are now preparing to transfer their authority over to the ‘Highlanders,’ 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Armored Div.
In the past few weeks, ‘Devil Brigade’ soldiers have been packing CONEXs, turning in equipment, and doing a left seat/right seat with their respective replacements.
One of the last sections within the brigade to close down shop has been the communication and network section, who officially took down the 1st AATF network, Sept. 20.
“Right now, we’re in the middle of transitioning from our servers to those of 4th AAB,” said Maj. John Drake, brigade signal officer, 1st AATF, 1st Inf. Div. “As we close down for redeployment, our capabilities have reduced, but we’re continuing to work to ensure we have a smooth transition.”
The Fort Leavenworth, Kan., native said his section was responsible for automations, phones, radios, communication security, frequency management, information assurance and the protection of computers and networks from viruses and intrusions.
In shutting down the network, Staff Sgt. Chad Parrish, automations non-commissioned officer in-charge, said that task involved shutting down the servers, breaking down the servers to fly them back to Fort Riley, Kan., on strategic air, and preparing for theater-provided equipment turn in. During the shutdown, the section also had to transition the key leaders to the 4th AAB, 1st Armored Div. network, ensuring they maintained the ability to communicate internally and externally.
“With us flying the equipment back STRATAIR, we will get back all the information and data we have, on both our secure and non-secure network, in a timely fashion so it will be available in a decent amount of time after everyone gets back,” said Parrish, an Augusta, Ga., native.
Before taking down the network, Drake said they archived all the files and folders they had for future reference, and also to assist 4th AAB during their time in theater.
“It’s critical to have all that information stored,” said Drake. “Discovering and learning everything on your own is too dangerous and complex, and in this environment you don’t have time to learn tactics, techniques and procedures with all . . . you have to deal with.
“So we took what worked and helped support them by providing information systems, for continuity,” he continued, “and it helps us, in the future, for training purposes, or when we go to (the National Training Center) because we have all the formats and operating procedures we created that we can continue to reuse.”
While the final reset will not occur for some systems until the transfer of authority, Drake said they have had a good handover to 4th AAB, who are now operating the network with "Devil" soldiers simply acting as observers.