The crucial link

/The crucial link

They ensured communication between the Land Component Command and the Italian Ariete Brigade during Exercise Trident Juncture: the Rapid Communication and Information Systems Element (RACE) 1. “When we are drinking coffee in this tent, that means everything is functioning and we did our job well”, says the Dutch RACE-Commander Second Lieutenant Ter Avest.

As Land Component Command of the Southern Forces in exercise Trident Juncture, 1 German/Netherlands Corps is in command of four brigades: the German-led Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, the British 9th Armoured Brigade, the US 12th Combat Aviation Brigade and the Italian Ariete Brigade. Commanding units means send orders, coordinate, share information, the list goes on and on. In short: being in the lead requires communication.

As different nationalities use different systems and networks, this communication used to be analogue. A human interface (read: soldier behind a desk) would receive it on one desktop and type it into the other system. A so called ‘Interface Gateway Box’, now takes care of the transfer. This makes communication between 1 GNC and the Italian Brigade almost seamless. The Lieutenant: “You could compare it to a dictionary with some 100 languages that links up the systems.”

The RACE is a crucial cog in the machine that coordinates thousands of soldiers. Something Ter Avest is very aware of. “Responsibility and pressure are part of the job, but I’ve been prepared for that.”

As Ter Avest decided to join the military at a later stage in life, he graduated from the Royal Military Academy almost a year ago and this is his first position. “It’s a dream come true. I’ve always had a keen interest in technique and now I’m commanding my own unit in the Norwegian snow. What better way to start a career?”