Joint Forces Command Team Supports Pakistan Response

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2010 — As the U.S. defense representative’s office in Pak­istan coor­di­nates U.S. mil­i­tary sup­port for the human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance mis­sion there, it’s get­ting help from a U.S. Joint Forces Com­mand team well-versed in deal­ing with crises.

Twen­ty-eight mem­bers of the Joint Enabling Capa­bil­i­ties Com­mand are on the ground in Pak­istan, aug­ment­ing the defense representative’s office with crit­i­cal capa­bil­i­ties need­ed to sup­port the cri­sis response, explained Army Col. Carl Giles, chief of the JECC’s oper­a­tions divi­sion.

The office of the defense rep­re­sen­ta­tive is well-respect­ed in Pak­istan, oper­at­ing under the com­mand of Navy Vice Adm. Michael A. LeFever, who also com­mand­ed the dis­as­ter assis­tance cen­ter in Pak­istan to coor­di­nate the U.S. mil­i­tary response to a 2005 earth­quake, Giles not­ed.

“He has an orga­ni­za­tion in place that can do a lot of the plan­ning and coor­di­na­tion,” Giles said. “The thing that we bring to this mis­sion is the archi­tec­ture to extend his reach and scope as the mis­sion grows in response to this dis­as­ter.”

JECC is staffed with com­mu­ni­ca­tions, oper­a­tions, plan­ning, logis­tics, infor­ma­tion man­age­ment and pub­lic affairs experts – all pre­pared to deploy on short notice to sup­port require­ments on the ground.

“This is an impor­tant mis­sion for us, espe­cial­ly because of our abil­i­ty to deliv­er a tai­lored team of experts that can move quick­ly and respon­si­bly to pro­vide the skill sets that are in high demand dur­ing these types of dis­as­ter relief oper­a­tions,” Navy Rear Adm. Wal­ter E. Carter Jr., the JECC com­man­der, said of the Pak­istan sup­port mis­sion.

One of Joint Forces Command’s key tasks is to be the joint force provider to com­bat­ant com­man­ders world­wide, Giles explained. So it’s the go-to com­mand they look to when they need unique skills and capa­bil­i­ty on short notice.

“That’s where the [Joint Enabling Capa­bil­i­ties Com­mand] comes in,” Giles said. “We are the [Joint Forces Com­mand] commander’s oper­a­tional arm, and we have the capa­bil­i­ty to deploy our peo­ple and our unique skill sets and capa­bil­i­ties to solve these emerg­ing prob­lems or emerg­ing crises, in the case of Pak­istan.”

The command’s four sub­or­di­nate ele­ments are no strangers to crises and con­tin­gency mis­sions. They sup­port­ed Oper­a­tion Uni­fied Response in Haiti, help­ing to stand up Joint Task Force Haiti to pro­vide dis­as­ter relief and human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance fol­low­ing a dev­as­tat­ing earth­quake in Jan­u­ary.

JECC’s Joint Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Sup­port Ele­ment had a team on the ground in Haiti at the Port-au-Prince air­port the next day, equipped with a com­mu­ni­ca­tions pack­age that enabled the State Depart­ment to com­mu­ni­cate with the Hait­ian gov­ern­ment, Giles said. They also were able to extend that com­mu­ni­ca­tion back to nation­al com­mand author­i­ties in Wash­ing­ton so they could grasp the scope of the sit­u­a­tion.

Anoth­er team, based at the embassy, helped to estab­lish com­mu­ni­ca­tion and coor­di­na­tion between Joint Task Force Haiti staff as they arrived on the ground, the Joint Staff, U.S. Embassy offi­cials and oth­er orga­ni­za­tions in the area to sup­port incom­ing relief sup­plies.

The joint deploy­able team brought plan­ners, logis­ti­cians and oper­a­tors to fill crit­i­cal bil­lets in the task force head­quar­ters as it formed. Mean­while, the joint pub­lic affairs sup­port ele­ment sup­port­ed the pub­lic affairs mis­sion.

This past spring, JECC was called into action again to sup­port Oper­a­tion Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon, the dis­as­ter relief effort fol­low­ing a mas­sive oil spill along the Gulf Coast.

Not all the command’s mis­sions revolve around human­i­tar­i­an or envi­ron­men­tal crises. The com­mand was called on ear­li­er this year to help fill key posi­tions while stand­ing up Joint Task Force 435, which man­ages detainee oper­a­tions in Afghanistan. In Novem­ber, it also helped to estab­lish the Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Joint Com­mand, com­mand­ed by Army Lt. Gen. David M. Rodriguez, to over­see day-to-day coali­tion oper­a­tions in Afghanistan.

Lessons learned through these and a broad range of oth­er JECC mis­sions give team mem­bers the adapt­abil­i­ty that makes them invalu­able in respond­ing to crises – in Pak­istan or any­where else in the world, Giles said.

“Every dis­as­ter relief effort is dif­fer­ent,” he said. “That is the com­mon thing, that they are uncom­mon in their response.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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