Friday, January 20, 2012

Maryland National Guard information unit continues to deploy

By Army National Guard Maj. Kristine Henry
Maryland National Guard

BALTIMORE - Soldiers from the Maryland Army National Guard 110th Information Operations Battalion are currently deployed to Afghanistan and Djibouti in support of the Global War on Terror.

 Small teams are deployed to the two countries while other teams are in various stages of training to prepare for deployment. The battalion is unique to the Army National Guard in that it does not deploy as an entire entity. Small teams are sent to augment larger commands already in place. The first team deployed in December 2010 and rotations are scheduled to continue for the next few years.    

 Army Sgt. Maj. Kevin Dickey, 110th IO operations sergeant major, explained the on-going, relevant mission of the unit.

 "Information operations is gaining traction throughout the military and is being used successfully on the battlefield," he said. "It is being deployed successfully.  Combatant commanders are using IO as a force multiplier, to shape the battlefield."   

 The battalion was officially stood-up in Maryland in 2009. When not deploying, personnel participate in federal exercises, such as Terminal Fury supporting Pacific Command, and state homeland security activities, such as Vigilant Guard in 2010.

 The battalion ran its first internal staff exercises in August 2011, followed by a smaller study on the importance of meeting with key leaders within a country.   These exercises are scenario based and often involve authentic language and dress.                 

Led by Army Lt. Col. Richard Amott, 110th IO commander, and Army Command Sgt. Maj. Kimberly Mendez, 110th IO command sergeant major, the unit is federally organized under the 56th Theater Information Operations Group from Washington State.  Within the state of Maryland, as of Nov. 1, 2011, the battalion has been reorganized from under the 29th Combat Aviation Brigade in Edgewood, Md. to the 58th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade in Towson, Md.

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