U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) teams participated in a major European Command (EUCOM) exercise earlier in February, the agency said Tuesday.

Teams from DISA Europe, the Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization (DITCO) Europe, and Data Center Europe all joined Exercise Austere Challenge 2017 (AC-17), a biennial flagship exercise of European Command meant to exercise the pertinent aspects of EUCOM’s mission, to provide communications and cyber security operations support.

Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) logo. Image: U.S. Department of Defense
Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) logo. Image: U.S. Department of Defense

DISA Europe operated from multiple locations in Germany during the exercise including the Joint Multinational Simulation Center in Grafenwohr and two locations in Stuttgart. Team members were embedded physically in the 24/7 EUCOM J6 planning cell on Patch Barracks and the 24/7 DISA Europe Enterprise Operations Center, the agency said.

DISA Europe worked performed multiple missions during the exercise. It generally provided transport, cyber defense, and future communications planning. DISA also coordinated with and provided situational awareness to the J6 staff and theater military service components playing the roles of joint force air component command, joint force land component command, joint force maritime component command, and joint force special operations component command.

DISA Europe’s team delivered the daily operational update and state of cyber play, scenario injects, and status of requests for information from the EUCOM J6 planning and current operations cells to DISA vice director Air Force Maj. Gen. Sarah Zabel. Zabel joined DISA Europe during the exercise.

The team also embedded with EUCOM J6 planners in the exercise assessment team (white cell) to control all actions in the exercise.

Lastly, the DISA team also demonstrated an integrated plan, train, and assess cycle (PTA) that aligns DISA Europe’s Theater Support Plan with EUCOM J6 strategic objectives and deliberate planning, the agency said. This process uses the Defense Readiness Reporting System (DRRS) to identify tasks, make assessments, and validate assessments in the Joint Training Information Management System.

The agency highlighted in a statement that AC-17 provided DISA Europe with “an opportunity to demonstrate their direct role in theater communications, which includes: being a Tier II cyber security service provider, defensive cyber operations – internal defensive measures, current operations, satellite communications missions, authorized service interruptions, Enterprise Operations Center situational awareness and coordination, transport planning and implementation, and the full range of joint and coalition mission partner communications,”

The exercise served as DISA Europe’s full test of the PTA cycle and full implementation of DRRS. This includes documenting training results and lessons learned which demonstrated “DISA’s readiness to support warfighters in EUCOM,” DISA said.