AGADIR, Morocco - The Joint Operations Center, or JOC's main function is to ensure that the command post exercise and peace support operations are running smoothly and that the mission of African Lion 2016 is being effectively fulfilled.
Ensuring that the hundreds of service members from participating nations have the correct information and supplies to carry out the exercise takes a lot of planning and coordination. The U.S. Marines in the JOC work together as a team to manage how each element of the exercise will receive what they need to be successful.
“The basic function is to gather and hoard information and give it to the appropriate people so we can gather it back up and get the correct missions pushed out,” said 1st Lt. Andrew Edwards, senior watch officer with Combat Logistics Regiment 4, 4th Marine Logistics Group, Marine Forces Reserve.
The JOC is considered to be the heartbeat of African Lion. It is what keeps the exercise up and running successfully and when issues do arise, it uses the information gathered to work effectively to overcome the obstacles.
“Without the JOC we wouldn’t know where troops are going, how many troops are in the locations of our area of operations, and who needs what and if they did even need those items they would have the proper chain to request those items from.,” said Sgt. Thomas Hamer, intelligence analyst, Combat Logistics Regiment 4. “Without us in the center, everything would just crumble.”
The Marines at the JOC work to the best of their ability with the other participating nations to effectively carry out the exercise objective of having a mutual understanding of each nation’s tactics, techniques and procedures.
"If there is anything that needs to be passed to the other nations, or they need anything from the Marines, the lines of communication are open," said Hamer.
African Lion, sponsored by U.S. Africa Command, is an annually-scheduled, combined U.S.-Moroccan exercise designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation’s tactics, techniques and procedures while demonstrating the strong bond between the two nations' militaries. The exercise is scheduled to run through late April 2016.