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Joint Enabling Capabilities Command Postures for Future Ops

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2013 – Joint Enabling Capabilities Command, the Defense Department’s 911 call force for joint force headquarters operations and bridging joint operational requirements, is implementing a new, five-year strategy to position it for future operational demands, its commander reported.

The new strategy, “Force for Today, Force for the Future,” is designed to better align the command with the priorities U.S. Transportation Command, its higher headquarters, began instituting last fall in its own five-year strategy, Navy Rear Adm. Scott A. Stearney said during a telephone interview from Norfolk, Va.

Air Force Gen. William M. Fraser III, Transcom’s commander, unveiled the most-sweeping strategic planning effort in the command’s 25-year history in October. In a nutshell, it aims to make Transcom the department’s “transportation and enabling-capability provider of choice,” Stearney said.

That goes beyond the transportation, airlift, sealift and distribution support Transcom is well known for, to include less-recognized but critical contributions like those provided by Joint Enabling Capabilities Command.

The JECC is DOD’s “A team” for the capabilities needed to quickly stand up and operate a Joint Task Force, with experts in operations, plans, knowledge management, intelligence, logistics, communications and public affairs. They deploy anywhere in the world within just a few days’ notice, organized in teams tailored to the specific combatant commander’s mission to augment assets already on the ground.

“We send very high-performing, small, mission-tailored teams that are very experienced” in joint task force headquarters operations, Stearney said. “They bring those joint skill sets that are required to make those task forces truly joint.”

The JECC and its three support elements -- joint planning, joint communications and joint public affairs -- have supported every major military operation since 9/11. That has ranged from contingency missions in Iraq and Afghanistan to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions in Pakistan, Haiti and Japan. Most recently, the command supported Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in the United States and operations in U.S. Africa Command with its supporting role to the French in Mali.

Based on a year-long review, the new strategy aims to increase the JECC’s capability by more closely aligning it to combatant commanders’ requirements.

“The nuance here is that we look to an end state where we are even more connected and more interdependent with the combatant commanders we operate with,” Stearney said.

The strategy focuses on four additional areas:

-- Training and building experience to be ready to respond to emergent joint operations;

-- Engaging with combatant command customers to prepare and enable seamless joint force headquarters solutions;

-- Innovating with an eye to expanding joint force commanders’ expeditionary command-and-control capability; and

-- Operating in complex environments with high-performing, mission-tailored teams that Stearney said “provide the right force at the right time to meet and accomplish global mission requirements.”

“The end state is that we are going to deliver unmatched joint operational command-and-control enablers to the joint force commanders who are conducting full-spectrum military operations,” he said. “This strategy leverages the JECC core competencies and targets those capabilities most needed by our combatant command customers when resources are tight, time is short and risk is high.”

Stearney and his team now plan to develop directives that spell out how the strategy will be implemented.

With strict belt-tightening measures underway, he said this process will help the JECC prioritize its efforts to best support its mission and those of the combatant commands it supports. This will be particularly important, he said, in the event that more cuts are required.

“But in my view, the JECC is already a high-value and highly efficient organization,” Stearney said. “We are very lean in the headquarters and have just enough to get our mission done. We try to put most of our muscle and our personnel, as well as our resources, into the elements.”

Looking to the future, Stearney said he sees no downturn in the appetite for the specialized skills and experience those elements provide. The defense strategy and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey’s Capstone Concept for Joint Operations both recognize that contingency operations are likely to become more -- not less -- frequent in the decade ahead, he noted.

Whether for combat operations or a response to a humanitarian disaster, U.S. military forces will be called on to provide support, he said. And wherever they operate, it will almost assuredly be as a joint force that deploys with little advance notice and hits the ground running.

That means they’ll need a command-and-control structure able to spring into action with them at full throttle -- the forte of the JECC.

“We provide the rapid joint task force enabling capabilities for the Department of Defense as a 911 force that provides these skill sets to any type of JTF that would stand up as a result of any type of emerging crisis,” Stearney said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s Pacific Command or Central Command or Southern Command or another command. We support them all.”

And during the next five years, he said, the JECC “will assume an expanded role in how our nation responds to emergent global events.”


Contact Author

Navy Rear Adm. Scott A. Stearney

Related Sites:
Joint Enabling Capabilities Command
Special Report: U.S. Transportation Command

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