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AFCEA International Offers Online Courses

Association’s experts teach military communications, networks and intelligence classes via videoconferencing.

/EIN News/ -- Fairfax, VA, May 13, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- To facilitate education while saving organizations time and money, AFCEA has been presenting course material to personnel where they work at the agencies, military installations and companies for several years. These same course instructors are now sharing their expertise via the web through the association’s Professional Development Center.

Among the courses offered is Military Satellite Communications in a Net-Centric Communications World. Col. Jim Mazzei, USAF (Ret.), teaches the class and recently shared his opinion about the status of the U.S. Defense Department’s celestial network in an article in SIGNAL Magazine.

According to Col. Mazzei, the U.S. Defense Department must take quick action to protect warfighters’ safety and homeland security. The challenge military leaders and procurement officers face is the urgency of the need. The failure of the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS), which was intended to revolutionize military ultrahigh frequency (UHF) communications, laid the foundation for the current satellite communications (SATCOM) crisis, he submits. Essentially, the vision for the radio’s multitude of capabilities made it too complex to be practically produced, the colonel adds. 

The Fleet Satellite and UHF Follow-On satellites, comprising legacy military ultrahigh frequency SATCOM, are all past their designed lifespan. However, slow fielding of higher capacity mobile user objective system wideband code division multiple access terminals necessitates continued reliance on this dying legacy of UHF, hence the crisis, he says.

And communications satellites aren’t cellphones or drones that can be bought at the local tech store, he points out. Meeting U.S. military communications capabilities needs by 2025 will require changing the location of a satellite already in orbit. Col. Mazzei’s article also offers insights into other possible options, which he says are few.

Eric E. Johnson, instructor of AFCEA’s Automated High Frequency Radio course, examines how a new generation of highly capable high-frequency (HF) radios is emerging as a viable solution to shrinking SATCOM access. Fourth-generation wideband high frequency radios can satisfy military needs with the century-old wireless technology that is experiencing a resurgence of interest from warfighters worldwide, he says.

In his SIGNAL Magazine article “Wideband Steps Up To Fill the Gap,” Johnson relates that a new generation of HF radios is coming online just as the services are calling for alternatives to SATCOM for wireless long-range communications. Current doctrine requires long haul and tactical communications to continue in anti-access, area-denied confrontations and in the absence of space assets. Wideband HF cannot match the high data rates of super high frequency SATCOM but can provide continuity of communicating vital strategic and tactical messages at data rates better than UHF SATCOM.

The U.S. wideband high frequency standards provide a basis for interoperability among these modernized HF radio capabilities, but program managers must coordinate their efforts to ensure that this vital interoperability is achieved, Johnson states. The Joint Interoperability Test Command has a key role to play in testing for interoperability during this generational change in HF radio deployments, just as they did during the emergence of 2G technology, he adds.

Learn more details about these topics in SIGNAL Magazine and arrange for online or onsite presentations of the courses Col. Mazzei and Johnson teach by emailing Susan Fofi or calling (703) 631-6137. Additional courses also are available online and onsite.


AFCEA International, established in 1946, is a non-profit membership association serving the military, government, industry and academia. Join online.

Maryann Lawlor
AFCEA International
(703) 631-6179