FORT EUSTIS, Va. –
A joint communication exercise (COMMEX) and tent exercise (TENTEX) here Aug. 1, 2018 demonstrated Joint Task Force Civil Support (JTF-CS) early entry and tactical command post operations for the new commander, Army Maj. Gen. Bill Hall.
The exercise served to test and demonstrate the command’s ability to set up response Early Entry Command Post (EECP) and Tactical Command Post (TAC CP) and conduct a sequence of events for a COMMEX based on TAC CP communications. It was also Hall’s first hands-on look into the process and procedures involved in the command deploying during a catastrophic event.
“Every organization has its own culture of how it does business,” said Hall. “Part of my responsibility as the new commander is to learn that culture and understand how the command operates, that way I’m not asking us to do something that already has a working process. So it was a very beneficial learning experience for me.”
Tony Kelly, director of J-3’s Current Operations at JTF-CS, was overall in charge of the evolution. His responsibilities involved ensuring that members of the EECP and TAC CP were able to successfully deploy an air beam tent and set up the EECP according to planned procedures.
“Personnel involved with the exercise set up the Air beam tent using an air compressor and generator,” said Kelly. “The TAC CP floor plan was then laid out using assigned tables, chairs and two 55 inch HD televisions. This process was run in parallel with J-6 personnel, who established satellite communications (SATCOM) to provide TAC CP personnel with internet connectivity. Upon completion of SATCOM setup, participants validated communications access to information systems.”
The Communications Directorate benefited greatly from COMMEX.
"The exercise gave us a chance to work on our communications setup procedures in real time,” said Rick George, J65 division chief, “It also gave new members of the J6 EECP team invaluable hands on training and qualification on different communications systems."
The exercise gave the unit a chance to learn about the commander’s Common Operating Picture (COP). The COP is a single screen that displays information collected and shared by multiple commands or units, and provides the commander the information needed to make the appropriate choice in any situation. Harold Richardson, a geographic information systems (GIS) coordinator, was in charge of managing and explaining the COP and other related programs to the unit during the exercise.
“This is the first time that members outside of the GIS team has seen the commander’s COP,” said Richardson. “The feedback they give will help the GIS team better develop the COP’s capabilities and functions, which in turn provides better and more timely information to the commander.”
When directed, JTF-CS is ready to respond in 24 hours to provide command and control of 5,200 federal military forces located at more than 36 locations throughout the nation acting in support of civil authority response operations to save lives, prevent further injury, and provide critical support to enable community recover.