Australia – DEFCOMMSTA’s ‘Silent Service’

Defence Communications Station (DEFCOMMSTA) Perth will expand its responsibilities this year when SUBCOMMCEN relocates from HQJOC at Bungendore to HMAS Stirling as part of a Chief of Navy initiative from the desired outcomes of the Moffitt Review retention and recruiting of submariners.

Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Christopher Thompson works at one of the computers in DEFCOMMSTA Perth, at HMAS Stirling in Western Australia.
Source: Australian Department of Defence
Click to enlarge

WO Andrew Bertoncin, OIC DEFCOMMSTA, said SUBCOMMCEN would relocate to Stirling at the end of the year, which is ‘music to the ears of the 12 submariner communicators currently in Canberra’.

“The relocation of SUBCOMMCEN to DEFCOMMSTA will keep the majority of the submarine CIS community together with their families at Stirling,” he said.

WO Bertoncin said the project to house the SUBCOMMCEN in the DEFCOMMSTA facility would allow submariner communicators the opportunity to support submariners at sea while remaining in the West. It also places a significant amount of responsibility for the support of Submarines into CIOG which currently commands and manages DEFCOMMSTA Perth through the use of ADF uniform communicators as its primary workforce.

“The capability is not a lot different to how we have been doing things but there is a bit of ‘smart’ thinking around some new process.”

LSCISSM Luke Fry said the project will have some impact on his responsibilities as a SUBCOMMCEN supervisor.

“The relocation of SUBCOMMCEN from HQJOC to DEFCOMMASTA will have significant management and personnel sustainment benefits,” he said.

LSCISSM Fry said that the silent nature of submarines relies on the guarantee delivery system that is provided through the Submarine Fleet Broadcasts that is provided through the SUBCOMMCEN.

He said their tempo was ramping up since three Collins Class submarines recently came on-line, “which will provide a range of interesting and exciting challenges.”

WO Bertoncin said the mission of DEFCOMMSTA Perth has always been to provide 24/7 tactical support in communications to the deployed Navy and ADF units.

“At the strategic level we support mercury signal users but our primary role is to keep the information flowing to the Fleet and other ADF units,” he said.

DEFCOMMSTA Perth currently has a staff of 86 personnel, who are mostly Communication Information System (CIS) sailors and Electronics Technicians (ETs), who operate and maintain the capability 24/7.

Press release
Ministerial Support and Public Affairs,
Department of Defence,
Canberra, Australia

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