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Communicating in the Middle East


Following the Australian Government’s decision to extend its military commitment in the Middle East, Defence established the Middle East Region Communications and Information Systems (CIS) Upgrade Program. The program involves a rolling upgrade to CIS infrastructure in support of Australia’s commitment to coalition operations.

Deployable Kit Earth Terminal (satellite dish) for use as part of the satellite communications upgrade in the Middle East region
Deployable Kit Earth Terminal (satellite dish) for use as part of the satellite communications upgrade in the Middle East region

Having received Government funding approval in April 2016, the program has entered its delivery phase, which will provide a modern, stable, secure and standardised CIS infrastructure at fixed-base locations in the region.

The program comprises four integrated CIS projects from across Defence:

  • The Satellite Communications (SATCOM) project
  • The Wide Area Network and Base Area Network upgrade project
  • The Enhanced Deployable Local Area Network (DLAN) project
  • The Middle East Region Cyber Security project.

Delivering an ICT upgrade in an operational environment presents a variety of challenges for the program, most notably ensuring that the installation of equipment and transition to the new system occurs with minimal impact on operational activities.

The program is also working to undertake limited facilities upgrades to ensure work health and safety standards are maintained; coordinate a delivery schedule that does not conflict with force rotations and operational activities; and ensure that equipment is delivered to austere locations in time for installation within the 24-month rapid acquisition timeframe.

In the coming six months, the program will develop detailed plans to manage data migration, logistics, facilities upgrades, training and integration testing. In parallel, work is underway to develop both a network and security architecture and an end-to-end support model for Middle East region CIS at fixed-base locations.

With support from the Chief of the Defence Force, the program is working to complete delivery and installation by the end of 2017.