JCSE develops skills during mission readiness employment exercise

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Zachary Foster
  • 6th Air Refueling Wing, Public Affairs

With an ever changing global battlefield, the need for clear and constant communication is more important than ever.

To ensure communications are available anywhere and at any time, service members assigned to the Joint Communications Support Element (JCSE) completed a mission readiness employment exercise at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, March 4-8.

“The goal of this exercise is to simulate fully extending our manning,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt Bennett Atencio, 1st Joint Communications Support Squadron joint tactical communication system technician. “That means we’re having communicators from intelligence, security, operations, planning and anything else come together to see what our total capabilities are.”

During the exercise, Atencio and the rest of the 1st JCSS team were tasked to create and operate a foreign environment command center with the capabilities to communicate vital information long distances without endangering the operational security of the mission.

“What we find is without a communications team there is no way to relay information from one command to another,” said Atencio. “The work we do connects commanders with the rest of the world and sets the foundation for later crews to create a long term network.”

According to Atencio, the exercise worked as a “stress test” for JCSE as a whole. While the participants underwent rapid assembly conditions, the rest of JCSE continued typical operations with a fraction of the manning.

For a standard communications team, the exercise would have placed intense stress on day to day operations, however, JCSE is structured differently than most military entities. The organization boasts a joint partnership between all branches and requires service members to reach the rank of staff sergeant prior to applying.

The unique composition of non-commissioned officers creates a highly educated environment with years of technical skills easing the learning curve.

“The advantage of an all NCO team is it ensures we get service members that have seen operations first hand,” said Atencio. “In a real world scenario, you can trust they will play their part and do it right the first time.”

This exercise provided an opportunity for communicators from across the joint force to reaffirm their capabilities and excel in their roles, developing a better understanding of the team’s rapid response readiness mission.