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Case Study: United States European Command, Germany

Headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, the United States European Command (USEUCOM) is a joint forces community of approximately 1,000 U.S. service members and government civilians. USEUCOM conducts military operations, international military engagement and interagency partnering to defend the U.S and enhance transatlantic security. From its state-of-the-art plans and operations center, the USEUCOM directs the operations of more than 50,000 military and civilian personnel, integrating and synchronizing forces across Europe, portions of Asia and the Middle East, as well as the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.

Two key segments of the USEUCOM include the Joint Operations Center (JOC) and the Senior Decision Cell (SDC), both of which fall under the USEUCOM’s Mission Command Center. The JOC is the strategic and operational hub of USEUCOM and is organized to accomplish missions, move resources and support the commander’s decision cycle. The SDC—co-located with the JOC—functions as a high-end briefing center for general and flag officers and can be used as a situation room for senior staff members.

USEUCOM identified the need to replace two outdated projection systems which previously served as control room displays for the JOC and SDC and had surpassed the manufacturer’s estimated life cycle by several thousand hours. USEUCOM engaged Tampa, Florida-based Command and Control Communications Engineering & Logistics (C³EL), a specialized builder, designer and technology integrator for the Department of Defense (DoD).

It was important to the USEUCOM that a display solution offer a long lifecycle, quieter operation, higher efficiency with respect to head and load calculations, and be able to scale with new technology, according to Lavar McDowell, C³EL project manager.

C³EL was familiar with Planar, a Leyard company, having partnered with them on past installations; McDowell and C³EL pitched the Leyard DirectLight LED Video Wall System and the Leyard TWA Series LED video wall.

Initially, the investment cost for a 51.2-foot-long, 6.6-foot-high Leyard DirectLight LED video wall in the JOC and a 26.6-foot-long, 4.4-foot-high Leyard TWA Series LED video wall in the SDC encountered some resistance.

“I brought up the idea of shipping a demo video wall all the way to Germany,” McDowell explained. “It was a financial risk for Planar, but they agreed and sent out a Leyard DirectLight along with a representative. When it arrived, we set up the demo right in the JOC.”

Being able to observe the Leyard DirectLight video wall alongside the projector screen changed the USEUCOM’s perspective on cost, according to McDowell.

To support the large Leyard DirectLight LED video wall in the JOC, the C³EL team, led by CEO Billie McDuffee, determined that a new load-bearing wall would need to be engineered and built. McDuffee deployed to Germany with a crew from C³EL that included technicians, a structural engineer and a master programmer.

With the JOC and SDC serving as true, mission-critical environments, it was extremely important that the project integration minimize impact or interference with operations and did not exceed the timeline that was set.

The completed Leyard DirectLight LED video wall and Leyard TWA Series provide both the JOC and SDC with a seamless, high-performing digital canvas to help direct mission operations, according to McDuffee. “The video walls really elevate the level of technology in those rooms,” he said.

“Personnel working in the JOC and SDC must view very detailed sources, including maps, videos, images or other content, and the improved clarity of the LED video walls definitely enhances their capabilities.”

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