Spc. Solomon Adams uses a laptop to operate the battalion’s new AN/TSC-156 Phoenix Tactical Satellite Terminal.

Spc. Solomon Adams uses a laptop to operate the battalion’s new AN/TSC-156 Phoenix Tactical Satellite Terminal. (Mark Melius / Courtesy of U.S. Army)

PYONGTAEK, South Korea — Two U.S. Army communications units in South Korea are slated for changes to get their battlefield radio and computer networks up and running faster than in the past.

The planned changes come as part of an Army-wide transformation of five signal units scheduled to occur in stages from now until fiscal 2008, officials said. It will alter the equipment and organization of existing signal battalions, converting each into what is called an Integrated Theater Signal Battalion, Army officials said.

The transformation will affect two South Korea-based tactical signal battalions: the 307th Signal Battalion at Camp Carroll in Waegwan and the 304th Signal Battalion at Camp Colbern outside Seoul. Both are part of the 1st Signal Brigade.

Two major changes are planned for those and other Army signal battalions worldwide, said Lt. Col. Timothy Walrod, 307th Signal Battalion commander.

The newest, high-tech communications equipment will be added to the battalions’ inventories. The gear will enable units to get communications networks up and running faster than with earlier equipment, Walrod said.

Each battalion’s troop strength will remain about the same, said Walrod, but job assignments will be reshaped in some cases to better match up with the new equipment — “a balancing of personnel so we have the right team compositions,” Walrod said.

“Where once we had to piecemeal several elements of separate units together, each of the ITSBs is virtually ‘plug and play,’ and will have all the equipment necessary to provide critical communications to coalition and joint forces,” Maj. Gen. James C. Hylton was quoted as saying in an Army news release. Hylton heads the Network Enterprise Technology Command/9th Army Signal Command at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

“They will move faster, connect faster, and bring all the capabilities commanders need to conduct command and control functions throughout theaters of operation,” Hylton said. “With Army Reserve and National Guard signal units also transforming to the new structure, there will be a larger pool of resources to call upon when the need arises.”

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