CIS Command: New signal specialty training programmes

The training was concluded with a 4-day exercise, which was conducted in the training ground of the Barracks "Pukovnik Marko Živković" at Pleso, where the participants demonstrated the acquired skills establishing a communication centre at the main and command outpost

The 1st cycle of the updated Signal Corps Specialty Training programmes was administered in the Training Centre of the Cyber Space Command from 14 July to 2 October 2020.

The programmes have been thoroughly modernised to include the programmes of the IT academy of the Ministry of Defence and of the Croatian Armed Forces and cyber security programmes, in addition to the compulsory radio-communication and communications technology in the operational use in the Croatian Armed Forces. The training comprised the radio, telecommunications and IT specialty and was attended by 17 participants, and in the fifth week also comprised the signal specialty conversion training for four members of the Croatian Armed Forces.   

The new training programmes are demanding, particularly the IT curriculum, which caught the strongest interest of the trainees, who were also interested in the competition and the closing exercise. The trainees have been taught  to operate radio sets and communication systems used in the Croatian Armed Forces, to operate telecommunications and network equipment and components, structured cabling, computer operating principles, assembling of computer components, software installation and hardware and software problem troubleshooting as well as the basics of cyber security. The trainees showcased their skills through consecutive online and practical tests.

The closing exercise

The training was concluded with a 4-day exercise, which was conducted in the training ground of the Barracks “Pukovnik Marko Živković” at Pleso, where the participants demonstrated the acquired skills establishing a communication centre at the main and command outpost. The demonstration exercise was observed by the Head of the CIS Directorate of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces Brigadier General Ante Tolić and by the Commander of the CIS Command, Colonel Daor Dabo. The head of the CIS Directorate commended the motivation and trainedness level as well as the new training programmes content. During the final training a competition in specialist skills was held through seven work points where the participants demonstrated their knowledge and newly acquired abilities.

After the completion of the Specialist training, the Training Centre hosted a certificate award ceremony, and the Commander of the CIS Command congratulated the trainees and welcomed them to the CIS service. The trainees are well prepared for the duties in the CAF units. Colonel Dabo appreciated the Commander of the Training Centre and the instructors for their contribution to the capability building of the Croatian Armed Forces for the 21st century. The Command fosters excellence by selecting the best trainee of the Specialist Training as evaluated by the trainees and instructors. The best trainee of the present generation was Pvt Marija Cerovečki.

The Commander of the Training Centre 2nd Lieutenant Sandro Grbavac

The Signal Corps Specialist Military Training in new programmes was a demanding activity for the trainees and instructors alike of the Training Centre, who had to acquire new knowledge and skills to administer the new programmes comprising the CISCO academy courses: IT Essentials, Networking Essentials, Introduction to Cybersecurity and Cybersecurity. After qualifying for the duty in early 2020, the instructors taught the trainees during the 8-week specialist training.  

The most demanding aspect for the trainees were the lectures and the teaching materials composed in English, but they solved it successfully. They displayed the acquired knowledge at the closing exercise, when they autonomously connected two signal centres with a relay link using THALES 4000, the installation and programming of the network equipment, and preparing, installation and maintenance of the user equipment.  

It should be underlined that in addition to the 18B telecommunications specialty training titled Networking Essentials was attended by the trainees of the 18A radio and radio-relay specialty, with the aim of preparing the trainees to operate the new devices increasingly based on the IP technology, which are introduced into operational service in the Croatian Armed Forces.  

All training specialties also completed the Introduction to Cybersecurity – an important factor for early detection and deflection of potential threats to the MOD and Croatian Armed Forces’ IT systems. The training was demanding, but it produced a new generation of signal specialists, who acquired commendable skills and solid ground for further career within the Signal Corps of the Croatian Armed Forces.

The conversion training participant Private Mario Vučeta

There were both hard and easy moments during the past two months of training. For me the training was facilitated by earlier computer knowledge and English skills. The instructors were available and dedicated full attention and passed on their expertise on the trainees, which was evident during the closing exercise.

The best performing trainee – Private Marija Cerovečki

The training was demanding and interesting. I learned to operate devices and technologies that I had not known about earlier, but we mastered it all with the aid of our instructors.

The training in groups of ten was an advantage in terms of individualised approach and we assisted each other whenever anyone had a difficulty resolving an assignment. The teaching material and exams were in English, which is important for acquiring the terminology in the expert field.

In conclusion, the training provided us a solid and comprehensive basis for future operation within IT industry for the needs of the Croatian Armed Forces.

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