Delivering food, fuel and other vital supplies to U.S. military personnel operating in remote areas of Afghanistan is not an easy task. An important first step is finding out which supplies are needed at what location and relaying that information back along the supply chain from Afghanistan to the point of shipment, often in the United States. In most cases, such communications are only possible via satellite because a local infrastructure does not exist or has been damaged by war. And satellite connections to small in-country networks require on-site technicians to install and set up ground antennas.
For the past two years, Intelsat General and By Light Professional IT Services have teamed up to provide the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) with connections between U.S. and allied supply officers in Afghanistan and the DLA’s global network of warehouses and shipping facilities. As the prime contractor, By Light has established and maintained the connection while Intelsat General has provided the link between Afghanistan and the DLA network via two Intelsat satellites and two teleports.
The DLA provides the U.S. military and its allied forces with a full spectrum of logistics, acquisition and technical services, from food, guns, uniforms and medical supplies to construction equipment and vehicles. The agency also supports humanitarian relief efforts at home and abroad, including the 2011 Japanese earthquake and hurricanes Isaac and Sandy in 2012 in the United States. The agency processes nearly 100,000 requests every day from troops and federal agencies around the globe asking for supplies and other materials.
To help the DLA communicate with supply officers stationed in Afghanistan, By Light sent technicians there two years ago to establish ground services at multiple sites located around the war-torn country. The technicians set up the ground equipment to establish small virtual private networks that were then connected to the Intelsat satellites. Requests for equipment and other support go over the Intelsat network to the DLA enterprise network.
By Light has set the DLA up as a virtual network operator so that the agency can receive the requests and communicate directly with personal in Afghanistan.
“Once we got the network set up, we haven’t had any problems,” said Jeff Adelman CS2-SB Program Manager of By Light. “Intelsat General’s end-to-end solution and capacity to meet surge requirements coupled with By Light’s operational support has exceeded DLA’s expectations.”