Marines

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U.S. Reserve Marine Staff Sgt. Philip J. Michell, a fire support Marine with 4th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, Force Headquarters Group, Marine Forces Reserve, discusses operations with members of Moroccan Armed Forces during Exercise African Lion 2018, in Tan Tan, Morocco, April 23, 2018. African Lion is an annual, multinational, joint-force exercise improving interoperability between participating nations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl Tessa D. Watts)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Tessa Watts

African Mission Network undergoes first trial during African Lion 2018

2 May 2018 | Lance Cpl. Tessa Watts Marine Corps Forces Reserves

The African Mission Network is being tested for the first time by the 10 participating countries of command post-exercise portion of African Lion 2018. AMNET is a new innovative network created by the United States that provides secure, interoperable, fast and effective communication between partners of different nations. The participants in the exercise are learning to use AMNET together to achieve effective partnership, liaison, and interoperability.

“The partners from this are learning how to protect classified information and how to operate on a classified information system,” said U.S. Marine Master Sgt. Brian M. Dimock, a communications chief with joint communications shop of U.S. Africa Command.

During the exercise, participants are using unclassified information to learn how to properly handle classified information.

“With African Lion in particular, the information we are passing is unclassified, but the scenarios involved are counter-violent extremist organization, so if it was real life, there is no way we would be doing counter-VEO over an unclassified network,” Dimock said. “If a coalition of countries were to counter VEO, it would not be possible to do that without a network like AMNET.”

AMNET’s pioneering features protect the national security of participating countries both during and after its use for an exercise or mission.

“AMNET is episodic, so right now, the information being used for African Lion is only releasable to the 10 participating countries,” said Dimock. “What we’ll do after this exercise is take this instance of AMNET, package it up, partition it, and bring up a new instance of AMNET. Say we’re using the AMNET for this exercise, and a couple of months down the road we use it for a different exercise that has different countries participating, they will not have access to the data that was used for this exercise.”

Not only is AMNET safe and secure, it also is easy to use.

AMNET is simple because everyone is using the same network for information, said Mali Air Force Capt. Youba Konte, participant of the African Lion command-post exercise.

The network is easy to use, secure, and makes communication and translation between different countries quicker and easier.

“When you get an email, you don’t necessarily need a linguist or an interpreter sitting right next to you to interpret that email,” said Dimock. “We’ve given them the tools for them to be able to do that.”

Using AMNET during this exercise is a good experience, Konte said, and all participating countries will benefit from it.

AMNET has been a crucial addition to African Lion, providing the participating nations with improved interoperability, quick and easy communication, and simple interface.

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