By Angela E. Kershner,
Honolulu District Public Affairs
FORT SHAFTER, HI -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Honolulu District wrapped up its annual participation in the state of Hawaii and Joint Task Force-Homeland Defense Makani Pahili Hurricane Preparedness Exercise recently.
District-wide support of the annual catastrophic disaster response exercise included internal drills and table-top exercises to assess the command’s capability to execute mission essential functions and provide external support to the state of Hawaii / JTF-HD in the event a Category 4 hurricane were to strike the Hawaiian Islands.
One important capability of the District’s disaster response is its Containerized Tactical Operations Center (CTOC). This containerized system provides a rapidly deployable tactical operations and communications platform for first responders where there are no available facilities or communications capabilities.
The only unit of its kind in the country, the District’s CTOC is a component of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Deployable Tactical Operations System (DTOS). The DTOS also includes Rapid Response Vehicles (RRVs), and Deployable Tactical Operations Centers (DTOCs). All CTOCs, DTOCS and RRVs are outfitted with the same equipment, packaged differently for ease of deployment to specific areas of responsibility.
The local CTOC quarterly maintenance and readiness check was performed June 5 - 6 to coincide with the Makani Pahili Exercise.
“We had two very successful days of training,” said CTOC Team Leader Tyler Miyamoto. “Two new CTOC members were introduced to system operations and we were able to work very quickly and efficiently as a team.”
Personnel needed to operate a CTOC include a primary and alternate team, each made up of a Team Leader, a Logistics Support Specialist, and a Command, Communications, Computer and Intelligence (C3I) Specialist.
On June 5, the teams set up and tested the very-small-aperture terminal (VSAT) satellite system. It’s a small, two-way satellite ground system run by a diesel-operated generator.
The CTOC also includes a fax machine, handheld GPS, universal power system, video camera, copy machine, printer, satellite phone system, VOIP phones, HF antenna, VHF handheld radios and chargers, cellular phone, system server, laptop computers, repeater with antenna, digital cameras, a wireless access port/bridge and a diesel -operated generator. The entire CTOC system is packed into 40 cases that can be placed onto pallets for rapid deployment.
The Honolulu District has the largest area of geographic responsibility of any District in the Corps of Engineers. The District's area of operations crosses five time zones, the international dateline and approximately 12 million square miles of the Pacific Ocean - and includes the territories of Guam, American Samoa and CNMI as well as the Freely Associated States including the Republic of Palau, Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
“Ensuring first responders have communications resources in some of the most remote island communities in the world is essential should the Pacific face another disaster like Super Typhoon Pongsona that devastated Guam in 2002,” said Miyamoto.