YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — The new Theater Network Operations and Security Center-Korea features a lot more space than it had before, but it was under a tent.

The unit had to camp out, so to speak, from March to September 2001, during one phase of a $1.6 million renovation at its Camp Walker building, said Lt. Col. Michael Shillinger, KTNOSC director. For much of the rest of the renovation, which ended Saturday, only part of the unit — which monitors the Army’s telephone and Internet networks throughout South Korea — had to work from a frame tent.

But that became history Tuesday when officials held a ribbon-cutting for the renovated facility.

The new center is one of about five in use throughout the world in Army four-star commands. The system monitors both secure and non-secure Internet systems and the Defense Switching Network telephone system, Shillinger said.

During the project, asbestos was discovered, but the unit’s vital mission meant it had to keep the Network Operations Center running, Shillinger said. Workers donned protective suits to shield them from asbestos, he said, while other soldiers and civilians worked in the tent to continue monitoring networks.

“Our folks literally had to do network management for the theater — this is high-level stuff — and they were operating [from a] … frame tent,” he said. “These folks have bonded very well as a team because they had to do their jobs from some pretty abominable conditions.”

The building was called the Theater Network Control Center when activated in August 1997. It was formed when the 1st Signal Brigade — the unit that runs the facility — meshed tactical and strategic networks.

Large computer screens alert operators when something needs repair, Shillinger said. The center also is responsible for monitoring cyberterrorism, hacking and other computer network security issues, he said.

The unit’s 68 people include U.S. soldiers, South Korean soldiers assigned to U.S. Army unit, Army civilians and South Korean nationals and contractors, Shillinger said.

The original structure, built in the 1960s, had an unstable power system that was bad for computers, said Maj. Jean R. Gaiennie, TNOSC operations officer.

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