SOFT Expands Divisionsí Access during Crisis, Major Events

WEST VIRGINIA (October 14, 2008) — The Clarksburg Technology and Operations Unit (CTOU) is providing Mobile Command Centers (MCC) with direct access to FBI secure network systems and databases, no matter where they are called to action.

These Satellite Operations Fly-away Terminals (SOFT) are currently supporting three field offices, with 10 additional systems planned for future delivery.

“Every secure satellite communication platform provides the offices with truly mobile communications to support major cases and access to tools they need to support the war on terrorism,” said CTOU Unit Chief Shawn E. Gray.

“Each system comes equipped with three telephones, one fax port, Internet access, access to secure FBI networks and e-mail, and secure video teleconferencing. In the future, it will have access to the secure telephone network,” he said.

The Los Angeles Division received its SOFT system in early 2006 and has deployed the satellite system seven times in conjunction with its mobile command center to support planned special events, including the Rose Bowl Parade and Game and the Golden Globe, Grammy, Emmy, and Academy award shows.

The terminals supported operations in Bakersfield, California. Agents in the field used the SOFT’s capabilities to gain access to FBI secure networks and to establish an online virtual command post to track and coordinate operations. In July 2007, the Los Angeles Division supported the San Francisco Division by deploying the MCC to the All-Star Game in San Francisco.

“The mobile command center’s full potential was not realized until we had secure communications, including secure video teleconferencing and access to our own databases through the use of the Satellite Diversity Network and the equipment provided by the Information Technology Operations Division CTOU,” said Supervisory Special Agent Diane Upchurch of the Los Angeles Crisis Management Program.

The success and efficiency noted in the development of these platforms allows for critical and mission-sensitive information to be passed when and where there is no existing infrastructure. As technology continues to evolve and develop, so has the FBI’s ability to parallel this evolution.

“This platform is just another ground-breaking service that CTOU has provided to the Los Angeles Division,” said Los Angeles Telecommunications Manager Richard Swanson.

“We want to make sure we use all of the capabilities of the Satellite Diversity Network and leverage those capabilities to support our main users, the FBI field offices. With additional funding, we plan to provide these important capabilities to all FBI field offices and work with each of them to customize their SOFT system to best fit the office requirements,” said Diana L. Silvey, Satellite Diversity Program Manager.

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