CJTF-HOA Prepares Mobile Forward Command Post

Service members from Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa test computer systems in its newly purchased forward command post (FCP) at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, May 12, 2013. Overall, the FCP gives U.S. Africa Command and CJTF-HOA an eyes-on capability that amplifies the ability to rapidly respond to a crisis or humanitarian incident in Africa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Caleb Pierce) CJTF-HOA Forward Command Post Service members from Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa test computer systems in its newly purchased forward command post (FCP) at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, May 12, 2013. Overall, the FCP gives U.S. Africa Command and CJTF-HOA an eyes-on capability that amplifies the ability to rapidly respond to a crisis or humanitarian incident in Africa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Caleb Pierce)
Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa's forward command post (FCP) sits fully assembled on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, May 12, 2013. Overall, the FCP gives U.S. Africa Command and CJTF-HOA an eyes-on capability that amplifies the ability to rapidly respond to a crisis or humanitarian incident in Africa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Caleb Pierce) CJTF-HOA Forward Command Post Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa's forward command post (FCP) sits fully assembled on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, May 12, 2013. Overall, the FCP gives U.S. Africa Command and CJTF-HOA an eyes-on capability that amplifies the ability to rapidly respond to a crisis or humanitarian incident in Africa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Caleb Pierce)

The first of its kind, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa's forward command post gives U.S. Africa Command and CJTF-HOA an eyes-on capability that amplifies the ability to rapidly respond to a crisis or humanitarian incident in Africa.

"Our mission is to effectively counter violent extremists in Somalia and East Africa," said U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Robert Hunter, CJTF-HOA Operations, Planning and Training operations chief. "The FCP lets us get critical information to the decision-makers faster, making us better at saving innocent peoples' lives."

The command's newly established joint FCP environment brings together Marines, Airmen, Soldiers and Sailors in the fields of intelligence, communications, personnel, operations, logistics, plans, comptroller, training and exercises.

Once the FCP and its components reach the geographical location in which they're most useful, Hunter said it can be assembled and configured in various ways to optimally accommodate mission requirements.

All FCP configurations use the same central tent, HDT Global's AirBeam Shelter. According to the HDT company web site, the AirBeam Shelter can support command and control operations, which is perfect for a joint operations center.

"The AirBeam system is built up with five separate beams that fill with air and takes about an hour to set up," said Hunter. "If you add separate soft tent systems that go with it, it can take up to six hours total to set up."

Overall, mobile tents, generators and supplies like tables and chairs can be transported to operating areas with CJTF-HOA air assets or Humvees.

After the FCP is fully built, the number of personnel required to operate it depends on the type of operations it will be used for.

"For a full operation, you're looking at 25 to 35 personnel, but a minimal operation would require only 8 to 12 people," said Hunter.

With the testing phase of the FCP complete, the current focus is preparing the tent system for future use in CJTF-HOA's 2.4-million-square-mile combined joint operations area in East Africa.

"This brand-new system has never been used before," said Hunter, "so we're taking time now to make sure we'll have no issues with it when the time comes to use it in the real world."

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