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NEWS | Nov. 14, 2013

JBSA-Fort Sam Houston information technology community plans for infrastructure upgrade

By Lt. Col. Christopher Barry 106th Signal Brigade

Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston is about to undergo a first-of-its-kind information technology transformation.

The JBSA-FSH Network Enterprise Center, 106th Signal Brigade and Installation Information Infrastructure Modernization Program office presented a Rehearsal of Concept Drill at the Army Reserve Center Oct. 30 to demonstrate plans for a sweeping upgrade to the IT infrastructure.

JBSA-FSH will receive new IT network switches for all buildings, about 1,300 switches in total. These switches are the devices that bring the network services to the desktop for the majority of users on post.

The end result of this switch replacement will be a tenfold increase in bandwidth and lay the ground work for a network which will allow for faster and more reliable video teleconferences and Voice Over Internet Protocol phone calls, among other high bandwidth-services.

JBSA-FSH is the first stop in this effort as the 106th Signal Brigade and the rest of 7th Signal Command (Theater) are about to install an information superhighway at all stateside Army installations which will be the largest effort of this type in more than a decade.

"It starts right here at Fort Sam and all eyes are on us," said. Col. Jay K. Chapman, 106th Signal Brigade commander, in explaining the importance of an integrated team between Brigade, NEC and JBSA-FSH mission partners. "The work we do here will inform all the other installations that follow."

The NEC invited chief information officer/G6 representatives from all major units on JBSA-Fort Sam Houston for the ROC Drill to show the IT customers the plan for the switch replacement, as well as give the representatives an opportunity to ask questions.

"It was important to get the feedback from our customers," said Lt. Col. Kevin Litwhiler, brigade S-3. "They are the ones that are ultimately going to realize the impacts of our efforts. "We are intent on being sure that it is a positive experience for them."

Litwhiler said he was appreciative of the participation of the IT community and its leadership as "they were able to make us better through their inquiries and suggestions."

"We have some of the most technically competent and flexible IT professionals in the industry involved in this project," said Dennis Garrison, NEC deputy director. "I am confident that - through our partnerships with the Army units on post, the 502nd Communications Squadron, I3MP and our brigade headquarters - we will be successful in laying the ground work for the future, to include making our networks more joint, faster and more secure."

Work began this month and should be completed by April 2014, Garrison said. For more information, call 466-2852.