DISA military and civilian teams support Secret Service at United Nations annual meeting
by Renee Hatcher
Office of Strategic Communication and Public Affairs
For the past 48 years, the DISA Communications Management and Control Activity has ensured the safety of presidential candidates, foreign dignitaries, former presidents and veterans by providing communication support to the U.S. Secret Service; the team continues that support this year at the 76th session of the annual U.N. General Assembly meeting, which opened Sept. 14, in New York City.
The U.N. was created in 1945, following World War II, with one central mission: the maintenance of international peace and security. The General Assembly is the main deliberative, policy-making and representative organ of the U.N. The assembly meets every year from September to December and provides a forum for U.N. member states to discuss the full spectrum of international issues. The theme for this year’s session is "Building resilience through hope - to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainability, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalize the United Nations."
DISA currently has two communications teams supporting USSS at the General Assembly meeting – CMCA and the White House Communications Agency. WHCA provides communication support to the USSS’s Office of Protective Operations, which is responsible for providing protection for the president, vice president and former presidents and their families. CMCA provides all other communication support to the USSS’s Dignitary Protective Division, which is responsible for providing protection for visiting heads-of-state/dignitaries and presidential candidates.
USSS requested help from the Secretary of Defense, and the DISA team was chosen for the job. UNGA is one of the three largest events that DISA supports; the other two are the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.
“Our CMCA team is specifically named in the SECDEF memo to support and partner with the Secret Service on all events they support including UNGA, RNC and DNC,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner, DISA director and JFHQ-DODIN commander. “That means the Secret Service has the faith and trust in the professionalism and technical skills of DISA personnel to support members of the Secret Service as well as interact with high level members of foreign government teams.”
CMCA is part of DISA’s Operation Center’s Infrastructure Directorate and supports USSS in the establishing staging areas, command posts, and operations centers. CMCA’s military augmentees work shoulder-to-shoulder with USSS technicians, to construct and tear down, multi-agency communication centers, security rooms and temporary communications platforms from the ground-up. They install all necessary equipment such as antennas, mobile and hand-held radios, fiber optic and network cables, computers and video walls in numerous and varied locations, including New York City sky scrapers.
The CMCA headquarters team, comprised of 12 active-duty military and five civilian personnel, also provides communications support for short-notice events like presidential candidate security details, state funerals and heads-of-state visits. To accomplish its mission, the team taps into its cadre of 71 uniquely-trained, credentialed joint-military augmentees spread across the country at four main staging areas.
“CMCA has a very big mission for such a little, almost unheard-of organization,” Hammond said. “Though small, CMCA quietly makes a big impact, providing all required communications support to USSS and the Joint Chiefs of Staff at events around the country every year.”
In August, the CMCA team deployed 20 personnel to New York City to support UGNA with additional supporting team members deployed to USSS headquarters in Washington, D.C. The team’s work included the installation and setup of a MACC, structuring communications in an existing command center and securely outfitting electronics into more than 180 vehicles.
“Our skilled Communications Management Support Teams eagerly arrived a month prior to the UN General Assembly with tools, equipment, credentials and the motivation to get the job done,” said Tyler Hammond, CMCA director. “We are there before, during and after the event to ensure our mission partner has all the support they need so the mission is successful.”
Skinner, who took command of DISA earlier this year, visited the DISA team on site Sept. 9 in New York City to get an up-close look at the work provided by DISA civilians, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen.
“I know the Secret Service has been very positive about DISA’s support of UNGA and other events,” Skinner said. “I’m proud to say that during this visit to U.N. headquarters, I saw firsthand the amazing DISA professionals supporting the Secret Service, and their tremendous expertise and agility in adapting to a dynamic environment in protecting dignitaries and our senior leaders”
Published October 20, 2021
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