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06 9 2021

Meet Captain Erich Fa, Staff Officer for Duty Control at the Operations Centre

German Air Force Captain (CPT) Erich Fa prioritizes requests for technology and information-related services at the Operations Centre of the NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI Agency), and makes sure they are efficiently taken care of.

The NCI Agency Operations Centre monitors, manages and services NATO's communications networks and technology. It does this at any hour of the day, every day of the week.

Meet Captain Erich Fa, Staff Officer for Duty Control at the Operations Centre

CPT Fa and his colleagues at the Operations Centre in Mons, Belgium, in addition to their co-workers in Brunssum, Netherlands, receive a constant influx of service requests from across NATO. CPT Fa's contribution to the Operations Centre is essential, as time and urgency matter.

CPT Fa volunteered for a six-month deployment to the Afghanistan Mission Network Operations Centre (AMNOC), where he took on the role of Director and made a significant effort managing and enhancing the Mission's IT infrastructure.

CPT Fa's significant contributions to the Alliance have not gone unnoticed. He was recently awarded NATO's Meritorious Service Medal from the NATO Secretary General for his work.

We interviewed him to learn more about his work.

Can you describe how your work at the NCI Agency Operations Centre helps to deliver services to NATO?

Customers and users can contact the Operations Centre, the NCI Agency's Single Point of Contact 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, by phone or e-mail. They can contact us anytime to receive support on IT-related incidents, request relevant information or to request any type of IT service. The Operations Centre has trained support staff for specific tools and provides support for these requests from its Centralized Service Desk (CSD), Network Control Centre (NCC) and VTC Control Centre (VCC).

As Duty Control Officer, I am at the heart of the NCI Agency Operations Centre, orchestrating the necessary work, establishing operational priorities and bringing focus and urgency as required to certain actions. Therefore, I am the escalation point for all potentially high and critical tickets.

At the same time, I maintain an open line of communication with all stakeholders in order to achieve the highest possible service availability for NATO.

What were your main contributions in support of NATO's mission in Afghanistan?

In my role, I managed the IT operations, ensuring the mission networks of the coalition could communicate, that the data centres in-theatre stayed operational. I also ensured the business continuity and disaster recovery was robust and agile, enabling Commander Resolute Support's Train, Advise and Assist mission.

To master these challenges, I pushed myself to the physical limit for an uninterrupted period of more than six months.

My strong intrinsic motivation made it easy to lead by example and inspire the team that was indispensable to the success of NATO's mission in Afghanistan.

I am glad that I had the opportunity to volunteer for the deployment to Afghanistan, as it was a once-in-a lifetime experience.

What does it mean to you professionally and personally to work for NATO?

The multinational environment at NATO encourages me to think outside the box, which broadens my perspective and approach to emerging challenges.

It is an honour and pleasure for me to serve NATO. It motivates me every day to go the extra mile and contribute to the success of the Alliance.

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