Garcia Cidoncha served as the Deputy Commander of the Resolute Support Signal Support Group, a crisis establishment post.
"The NCI Agency needs to ensure boots on the ground to enable efficient achievement of its goals and objectives," Garcia Cidoncha said. "In my opinion, this is the only way to establish and sustain the necessary links between the back office in Europe and operational support activities carried out in theatre. The feedback and input provided by the NCI Agency's boots on the ground have proven to be oftentimes of paramount relevance to sort out problems."
In Resolute Support, the Signal Support Group supports 21 sites and nine networks.
"The scope of our activities, in my opinion, is kind of impressive," Garcia Cidoncha said. "We support not only the core network, but also the bespoke ones, the national extensions and so on."
Garcia Cidoncha deployed multiple times while serving in the Spanish Air Force, and during his previous assignment as a NATO civilian in Germany, but this is his first time in Kabul as an NCI Agency staff member.
"When I landed in my position in theatre, I immediately recognized the bond between the work done in our offices in Europe and the impact it has here in Afghanistan. What you are doing in your office, in your vacuum, it has an impact here," Garcia Cidoncha said.
As the technical authority over all Communications and Information Systems-related matters, it's valuable to have Agency staff deploying to crisis establishment posts, said Michaël Danys, who filled such a post in Resolute Support in 2017. Agency staff bring to the positions their experience of how the Agency operates.
Danys, who had never deployed to an operational theatre, was convinced by co-workers to volunteer for the post. Danys described the experience overall as "nothing short of amazing."
"In all honesty, my first reaction when I set foot on the ground over there was 'what am I doing here? And why didn't I just stay in my office in Mons?'" Danys said. "But that feeling basically quickly faded once I started getting settled in."
The handover and takeover process helped Danys settle in, but it helped too that everyone is away from home and is experiencing similar feelings. Talking with others deployed at the same time helps you to process the environment, Danys said.
"Everyone kind of knows what the others might be feeling from time to time," Danys said. "It creates a bond with the others much faster than you would get in the normal office environment."
Filling a crisis establishment post allows you to learn a lot in a very short amount of time. And in Danys' case, it also opened some doors after deployment.
During deployment, Danys served in a position at the management level for the first time, as the Service Management Section Head in the Signal Support Group. In the year and a half since returning from Afghanistan, Danys has acted in a management role as the Service Transition Section Head.
Danys is scheduled to deploy again next year.
"As an individual you can make a difference over there," Danys said. "You really see the results of your contributions, and that gives you a lot of satisfaction."