NEWS | Feb. 12, 2019

2503rd Digital Liaison Detachment Conducts CPX

By Staff Sgt. Matthew Britton U.S. Army Central

Soldiers assigned to the 2503rd Digital Liaison Detachment, U.S. Army Central, took part in a Command Post Exercise alongside South Carolina National Guard and Army Reserves Feb. 8-10, 2019. 

A DLD bridges the gap between U.S. and host nation mission command systems at the major headquarters level and improves synchronization across warfighter functions. 

The CPX started on Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., where the 2503rd DLD conducted a tactical vehicle convoy to McCrady Training Center. They joined members of the 151st Expeditionary Signal Battalion, S.C. National Guard, and members of the 206th DLD, Army Reserves. 

The training provided an opportunity for these three different Army components to work with the total Army concept, establish connectivity and test their Mission Command Systems.

“In this exercise we had the opportunity where we had the DLD, which is an active component unit being supported by a South Carolina National Guard expeditionary battalion to provide us on-call communication capabilities,” said Col. Doug Mills, the 2503rd DLD commander. “We often partner with the 206th DLD during training events. In this case, they brought their mission command systems out, and we’ll have the opportunity to employ their systems using the facilities that we are providing for them. It allows them to test their mission command systems back to the COIC (Current Operations Integration Cell) at USARCENT, the way we are testing ours. It’s a great training opportunity for all three components to work together to maintain mission readiness.”

Having the ability to bridge the gap, or as the 2503rd’s motto states, “Bridging the Chaos”, is imperative when working with other nations who may not have the same technological capabilities as the United States.

“There (are) three elements to interoperability,” said Mills. “There’s the human component, there’s the procedural component, and then there’s the technology component. A lot of times the other militaries we’re partnered with in operations perhaps don’t have the same technological capabilities for us to do direct connectivity with them. So, in those cases, we have to use those procedural and human components to bridge the gap. We’re be able to take information out of their analog systems and transfer that back to a U.S. headquarters we’re supporting so we can put it in those digital formats that we’re used to. The role of the DLD is vital in working across our coalition partners and unified action partners.”

The 2503rd DLD’s sergeant major also weighed in on the importance of their role in interoperability.

“We play a big part in interoperability,” said Sgt. Maj. Chad Eske, the 2503rd DLD senior enlisted advisor. “We’re where the rubber meets the road as far as with our coalition partners, host nation and unified action partners. We’re right there with them working with their mission control, sharing that most up-to-date information, and we can deconflict any issues we may have.”

Unlike a lot of specialized units where the majority of the individuals assigned have the same or similar Military Occupational Skills, the DLD is a unique unit where it has mainly senior leaders from several different warfighter functions.

“The warfighter functions we have are air missile defense, maneuver, logistics, fires and intel,” said Eske. “It really plays a big role. We have more senior folks here, a couple captains, majors and lieutenant colonels, and on the enlisted side most of our folks are sergeant first class and master sergeants.

They have the skill set and experience where they can liaison with the senior leaders with the host nations and unified action partners. It really exercises the noncommissioned officer’s role within our mission command piece.”

At the end of the day, it’s all about mission readiness, and this is what the training provided for these separate Army components.

“This whole operation is really focused on maintaining the sustained readiness of all the Soldiers in the DLD,” said Mills. “We’re very excited to have opportunities to train like this, especially across those multiple COMPOS as we get ready to support our team members down range in their exercises and if we were ever have to do combat operations again. We want to make sure the whole team is ready to go.”