Intelligence Center Coordinates Central Command Efforts
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
AS SAYLIYAH, Qatar, Apr. 19, 2006 The new Joint Intelligence Operations Center here looks like what Hollywood's conception of what a "war room" should look like.
The center is the heart of U.S. Central Command Forward, based here. Everything the command can do at its Tampa, Fla. Headquarters also can be done here, officials said.
The center is capable of running coalition operations from Kenya to Kazakhstan and Egypt to Pakistan, a senior Central Command official who gave a tour of the facility said. The center is also closely connected with command's headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.
Need to know what is happening in Iraq? The center will have the latest information. Need to track the progress of supplies into Afghanistan? Again, the center will be able to display that information. A Predator unmanned aerial vehicle hones in on an interesting target? That footage can be displayed live at the center.
Large television screens dominate one wall of the room. The screens can operate independently or in combination with each other. The idea is to let everyone in the room see what most interests commanders or staff.
Eight rows of 10 workstations each rise from the entrance and face the screens. The stations all have secure and non-secure computer access and telephones. Everything is at the staff officers' fingertips.
Manning the stations are staff officers who specialize in operations, intelligence, personnel, logistics, communications, public affairs, surveillance and all other aspects of the command. There are stations for State Department representatives and for allied countries. There are also extra stations for U.S. government organizations who might provide intelligence or advice, such as the Department of Justice, the Drug Enforcement Agency or the Department of Homeland Security.
The center is fully operational now and has already proven its worth, officials said. When the massive earthquake struck Pakistan and India in October, staff officers at the center were able to coordinate U.S. and international rescue and recovery efforts.
The center could prove invaluable in the event of a disaster in the southeastern United States. For example, if a hurricane approached Tampa and forced the evacuation of the city, planners here could take over the full load, officials said.