NEWS | March 30, 2020

Making Connections During Crisis: CNE/CNA DET MAST

By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, Detachment Maritime Ashore Support Team (CNE DET MAST) is helping Sailors in U.S. 6th Fleet stay connected during the COVID-19 global pandemic, March 30.

CNE DET MAST is a mobile communication detachment that stands ready to support full mobile command, control, communications and computer capability wherever needed.

DET MAST was stood up aboard Naval Support Activity Naples to increase 6th Fleet’s versatility and flexibility by providing a secondary work location, which enables the staff continue to operate, adhere to the current health protocol, and support the Fleet. 

“The safety of our personnel is a top priority,” said Vice Adm. Lisa M. Franchetti, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet. “We are using essential manning throughout the fleet to be able to maximize social distancing, while minimizing contact time with people in buildings and on ships. DET MAST continues to ensure we can still meet all our mission requirements regardless of our location.”

CNE DET MAST has a full complement of Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPR) Net terminals, secure video teleconferencing capability (VTC) and secure voice phones set up in a mobile “café” available 24/7 to any authorized personnel who have a need.

“CNE DET MAST is an expeditionary communications element attached to U.S. 6th Fleet,” said Lt. James Lewis, DET MAST officer-in-charge. “We provide continuity of operations for Adm. Foggo and Vice Adm. Franchetti, along with task force commanders throughout the European theater. We also provide maritime operations capability support to the USS Mount Whitney.”

Some of the major theater events CNE DET MAST routinely supports are exercises Formidable Shield, BALTOPS, Juniper Cobra, Austere Challenge, and Cutlass Express. They are also used during real-world critical events, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are robust and in demand and we’ve been able to deliver every mission set that we’ve been tasked with,” said Lewis. “Most recently, we provided U.S. SIPR Net support aboard French Aircraft Carrier Charles De Gaulle during a joint interoperability exercise conducted with France.”

DET MAST is providing a significant contribution by ensuring Navy personnel are able to perform their job requirements while practicing social distancing in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.  

“This particular mission set is a subset of our operations tasking to provide services to align with social distancing protocol and be able to keep the fleet running from a staff perspective,” said Lewis. “We provide a classified means of communications, from email access to VTC and secure voice communications. It gives Sailors the flexibility to be able to rapidly respond, without risking exposure.”

U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.