Communications Directorate consolidates, stands-up

A1C Vanessa Devaul and SrA David Hart hold a briefing in the Communication Focal Point area. U. S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp

A1C Vanessa Devaul and SrA David Hart hold a briefing in the Communication Focal Point area. (Air Force photo by Sue Sapp)

SrA David Hart, 78th CS, checks the incoming calls status for the help desk in the communication focal point. U. S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp

SrA David Hart, 78th CS, checks the incoming calls status for the help desk in the communication focal point. (Air Force photo by Sue Sapp)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Robins recently became the first Air Logistics Center in AFMC to stand up a communications directorate. As a part of an effort to consolidate the communications squadrons and the information technology directorates, the three AFMC ALCs are required to combine the two.

In a ceremony here July 31, the base inactivated the 78th Communications Squadron and stood up the 78th Communications Directorate, which was formerly called the 78th Communications Group. The 78th Communications Group stood up provisionally in 2007 to combine the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center Information Technology Directorate and the 78th Communications Squadron under one umbrella.

Bernie Lannan, the director of the 78th Communications Directorate, explained that previously the 78th Communications Squadron operated under the 78th Air Base Wing and IT operated under the WR-ALC.

"This complexity in terms of the communications squadron accomplishing the operational mission and the IT accomplishing the guidance and policy mission, caused a lot of problems throughout the command," Mr. Lannan said.

It was set up the same way at the other AFMC bases, Hill Air Force Base in Utah and Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, which are set to stand up their communications directorates Oct. 1.

The Directorate employs approximately 700 people, with about a 100 of those military. It handles computer and telephone issues at Robins, including technology security. It operates the Help Desk that users can call when they have computer issues. Mr. Lannan said nothing will change as far as how base employees interact with the office.

"The change I would hope we would see is a more efficient organization because we were split with two heads and now we are truly one organization," he said.

He also noted that the Department of Defense is putting an increasing emphasis on computer security. He said the computer network is now being treated as a weapons system, noting that people wouldn't think of plugging a thumb drive into an F-15 so they shouldn't think of doing it to their office computer.

"The military network is now being managed much more closely than it ever was, and there are new threats to security being discovered, new threats to our operations, new threats to our ability to deliver warfighting capability," he said. "We are truly going to step it up and look at the infrastructure and the capability that you have on your desktop more like a weapons system than we have in the past. We are going to manage it like a weapons system and secure it like a weapons system."