Behind the scenes, and a vital part

We can’t always see them, but we would certainly know if they were missing. The men & women of the technical support staff behind this Computer Aided Exercise, Combined Joint Staff Exercise 17 (CJSE17) have an important task.

At Tech Support, or Helpdesk, participants can get quick technical answers. Photo: Leah Jorsell/Swedish Armed Forces.
Major Fredrik Roswall, responsible for the tech support at the main site in Enköping, is pleased with their work so far. – Skilled workers make the job easier, said Roswall. Photo: Leah Jorsell/Swedish Armed Forces.
Johan Gusén, a continuity manager at SwAF CISCOM, focusses not only on a server but also system overwatch and the administration of the exercise portal. Photo: Leah Jorsell/Swedish Armed Forces.
Filip Svensson sorts out a problem in Tech Support, in Stenvreten, Enköping. Photo: Leah Jorsell/Swedish Armed Forces.
– We can help out with most things, says Mikael Eriksson in Tech Support/Helpdesk. Photo: Leah Jorsell/Swedish Armed Forces.
Erik Andersson’s day job is with an engineering company, but through his National Home Guard service is just now with CJSE’s technical support. Photo: Leah Jorsell/Swedish Armed Forces.

The exercise play runs through the participants’ computers; it is in this world – divorced from our real world – that the participants can communicate via IP-telephones, email, document filing, and the use of digital mapping. With over 1 200 participants, that makes the exercise’s technical dimension one of the widest.

Sweden’s Command and Control Regiment (LedSS) hosts the exercise and is also responsible for the technology in all three locations: Enköping, Uppsala and Karlskrona.

So, to fully man this system requires the help of several colleagues from the Swedish Armed Forces Communication and Information Systems Command, SwAF CISCOM, which is present at all three locations, as well as volunteers from the National Home Guard.

Plenty to do, before and afterwards    

Halfway through the exercise, Major Fredrik Roswall has gathered his 20-odd staff for the morning meeting in Enköping; today they will go through the routines for ENDEX, which is the concluding phase of the exercise.

 Preparing, rigging and testing all the technical kit, and the systems, has taken us a few weeks – which is actually pretty short.  Then, for packing up, when part of the work needs to be completed over the weekend, everybody needs to know what to do, said Fredrik Roswall.

Rock-solid technical support from our volunteers 

It is at the start and finish of the exercise that this technical support has most to do.

 Then we get questions about computers, logins, cables – pretty much everything really, says Mikael Eriksson from the 21st National Home Guard Battalion, manning one of the five Helpdesks on the exercise.  Right now, about halfway through, it’s a bit quieter.

Volunteer staff, from for example the National Home Guard, are vital to create that solid technical support: Erik Andersson from the 17th National Home Guard Battalion is working his first CJSE and is already keen for the next.

 It’s both fun and important. I meet new contacts, improve my English, and develop my system training. I’d love to come back again, said Erik.

 Fredrik Roswall confirms that everything is ship-shape and closes the morning meeting by praising the staff for their sterling work.

CJSE in figures:

  • 1 100 computers
  • 1 300 accounts
  • 600 IP-telephones
  • 5 VTCs (video conference facilities)
  • 16 300 emails sent so far
  • 1 100 telephone calls per day
  • 426 issues dealt with by Helpdesk
  • 61 GB stored material
  • 70 000 documents filed