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379 AEW Communications Security relocation enhances mission, security

  • Published
  • By Maj. Ashleigh Peck

The 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Communications Security Office, also known as COMSEC, officially relocated to a new building on Feb. 17, 2020. The historic move was formally commemorated during a ceremony on Feb. 2, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.

The new location, which features a vault, was repurposed in order to enhance security and access for roughly 40 unit account holders and approximately 1,400 customers who rely on encrypted communication to conduct their missions.

Discussions regarding the relocation began in July 2018. At the time, the current vault’s building was physically sinking due to unsecure soil and was expected to lose its structural and security certifications in the coming years. When Maj. Jason Gargan, then the director of operations for the 379th Expeditionary Communications Squadron, heard about an underutilized vault with communications equipment stored inside he seized the opportunity to secure the new location.

“I’ve witnessed this team work hard toward securing this safer and more convenient location for 17 months, and I’m proud to be able to witness it finally happening,” said Gargan, now the 379 ECS commander.

The COMSEC office is comprised of seven professionals who receive, validate, and issue 10,000 cryptographic materials to bases throughout the Middle East and Horn of Africa. These “keying” materials ensure secure radio, telephone, and network communications.

“This team is small but their reach is wide,” said Gargan. “COMSEC essentially ensures our operators can communicate with one another through secure means.”

Along with COMSEC, the Wing Cybersecurity Office also moved to the new location.

“The 379 ECS has three lines of operation: enabling regional military operation, cyberspace mission assurance, and a positive user experience,” said Gargan. “This move touches on all three lines of operation by bringing our COMSEC & WCO closer to mission partners, who are executing the air tasking orders throughout the region.”