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NEWS | Jan. 21, 2021

NCNG bolsters communications during inauguration

By Sgt. Lisa Vines North Carolina National Guard

WASHINGTON – The North Carolina National Guard deployed nine Soldiers and one Airman from across the state to set up and maintain a Joint Incident Site Communications Capability (JISSC) team supporting the presidential inauguration.

The JISSC team, which is routinely requested for inaugurations, establishes a commercial network for local tactical operation centers. The network improved internet and communications and radio interoperability for multiple agencies and various radio types and frequencies.

The team set up the week before the inauguration and planned to be activated until the day after the ceremony.

Capt. Chelsea Beale, a tactical communications officer assigned to the 105th Engineer Battalion, 130th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, said the mission marked the first time the Soldiers and Airmen were activated together.

"When we have opportunities to come out and use this equipment, we try to pull different personnel from the state not only to allow them to see a different kind of mission and to get the opportunity to work on state active duty, but also to push that knowledge out so if something like this happens again we're able to pull from different units," Beale said.

The team's missions have included simple rapid tactical communications in the field and the more complex presidential inauguration missions. On a typical tactical mission, the JISSC team could be ready to provide communications in one to two hours. During more unique missions, such as the presidential inauguration during the COVID-19 era, having communications ready could take longer.

"Because all these units are coming from all across the nation, they are inhabiting areas where they don't have communications laid out," said Beale. "Our goal is that as soon as the commander gets on ground, they have access to all the platforms that they need."

The NCNG deployed over 300 Soldiers and Airmen to support the inauguration – a security force of 300 personnel, about 10 members from the 42nd Civil Support Team, and Beal's 10-person JISCC.

They joined more than 25,000 National Guard men and women in Washington from all 50 states and three territories to assist with the inauguration.