U.S., Burundi share communications hardware best practices


Members of the US militalry’s Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa communications team recently worked with Burundian National Defense Force’s communications unit to share best practices for installing, operating, and maintaining their newly refurbished African Data Sharing Network (ADSN) satellite terminal, June 8-17.

The ADSN is a tactical intelligence sharing platform that allows critical intelligence information to be shared between the African Union Mission in Somalia’s (AMISOM) Troop Contributing Countries (TCC.) In addition to Burundi, TCC include Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Uganda. The ADSN allows all these countries to share intelligence information in order to accomplish their mission in Somalia.
“The ADSN terminal is pretty remarkable,” said Nevada Army National Guard Sgt. Corey Metzker, a member of the 422d Expeditionary Signal Battalion, currently assigned to CJTF-HOA communications unit as the ADSN team lead, “They are capable of being deployed just about anywhere in the world. That kind of option really gives their leadership great operational flexibility.”

Metzker traveled to Burundi to assist in the sharing of best practices of the ADSN that is also capable of secure data, voice, and even video teleconferencing. The use of this platform allows for collaboration between AMISOM force leadership back in their home countries as well as well as their forces forward deployed into Somalia.
“This has been a long and difficult process getting the terminal down here,” Metzker said. “It is very fulfilling to finally see it here in Bujumbura.”

It’s been nearly a year that CJTF-HOA troops been in Burundi, and a first for communication troops to share ADSN best practice techniques and tips with the AMISOM partner.
“It is an honor to be invited and take part in such an important aspect of the BNDF’s mission of combating the violent extremist organization, Al Shabaab,” said U.S. Army Spc. Richard Taylor, 422d Expeditionary Signal Battalion, currently attached to CJTF-HOA’s Tactical Network Team.

During the ten days of sharing best practices, communications personnel worked with over a dozen members of the Burundian National Defense Force, explaining lessons learned and best practice videos put together in partnership with CJTF-HOA’s combat camera unit.
“The best practices videos were extremely well received by the BNDF troops, and the best part is that they can keep a copy with them to review anytime,” Metzker said. “It is always nice to have multiple mediums of reference when we are sharing our lessons learned.”

The event culminated with a CJTF-HOA intelligence representative reviewing, with the BNDF troops, the updated features of the intelligence sharing platform itself, which also received a recent overhaul.

Taylor summed up the culmination of the event saying, “Hands down, this was a successful mission. I couldn’t be more proud of the BNDF troops and their willingness to learn. I have all the confidence in the world that they will be able to expertly troubleshoot and operate the [ADSN] terminal for a long time to come.”