Force Communications Element One transfer of authority
20 February 2015
On 30 Jan 15, Force Communications Element One (FCE-1) held a Transfer of Authority ceremony to signify the end of their deployment to the Middle East Region (MER) and the handover of responsibility to FCE-2.
FCE 1 was the first incantation of the down-sized Force Communications Unit (FCU), which endured ten rotations at unit strength; the reduced manning state reflecting the winding down of operations in Afghanistan in 2013.
Outgoing Officer Commanding (OC) Major (MAJ) Andrew Champion said he was proud to have handed over a good legacy built up by his team of professionals.
“FCE 1 numbers were reduced by about thirty per cent due to the lower operational tempo expected in the region, but with operations being planned in Iraq, we saw an expansion of more than 500 personnel in camp at one point,” he said.
“That influx stretched our resources but my team came through with flying colours to meet the demands and provide the quality service you would expect from communications professionals.
“In handing over to FCE 2, I am confident they will continue and build on the standard set by FCE 1 and our predecessors, and continue to provide an important service that is utilised by all deployed ADF members in the MER.”
The FCE headquarters, based at Australia’s main logistics base in the MER, is a joint unit made up of around 70 personnel primarily from Army and Air Force with a three attached Navy members.
As members of FCE 1 return to Australia from 04 Feb, incoming OC, MAJ Mathew Hegarty said he was inheriting a very complex communications network.
“While our infrastructure has a wide reach and is vital for Australian operations throughout the MER, the smooth transition from FCE 1 to FCE 2 will be due to the professionalism of our people and their competence in maintaining the networks,” he said.
“I anticipate a smooth transition and I look forward to continuing the good work of my predecessors.
FCE is responsible for the provision of national Communications and Information Systems (CIS) supporting National Command and Control for Force Elements deployed throughout the MER, as well as welfare communications for Australian deployed members to stay in touch with home.