Command Needs Reservists for Headquarters Core Elements
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 8, 2007 U.S. Joint Forces Command, with headquarters in Norfolk, Va., is recruiting 240 reservists to serve in Standing Joint Force Headquarters Core Element teams.
Navy Rear Adm. M. Stewart O’Bryan said in a recent interview that the command needs reservists in grades E-7 to O-6 from all components who think “joint.” O’Bryan commands the Standing Joint Force Headquarters Core Element.
“In the past, joint task force headquarters were formed on an ad hoc basis,” O”Bryan said. “The thinking was that there had to be a better way to do it, and the standing joint task force headquarters was the way to go.”
The combatant commands have their own standing joint force headquarters. In practice, that organization would likely be the “first responder” if needed for an operation or to respond to a natural disaster.
“If the event required an additional capability, or a second event occurred in that command, that commander could ask Joint Forces Command to deploy one of the core element teams,” O’Bryan said.
If there was an earthquake, for example, and the combatant commander designated a Navy expeditionary strike group as the lead, the Joint Forces Command core element would fall in on the command ashore or afloat.
“That core element could marry up and give them the joint expertise and bring together the team to focus on the mission,” the admiral said.
If the event turned into an enduring mission, then the core element would have the expertise to develop the joint manning documents, and serve in the headquarters until permanent personnel arrived. “The core element would then return to Norfolk and would reset for the next event,” O’Bryan said.
Those accepted for the unit would be on-call and be ready to report within 48 hours and deploy within 72 hours of notification, O’Bryan said.
Each core element team is a mix of 37 active duty and 20 reserve component personnel. There are six reserve teams. The teams will provide expertise in joint operational planning.
For reservists, it is a big commitment. They must commit to 67 days per year – 24 drill days, 14 days of annual training and 29 additional days. To be selected, reservists must have a secret clearance and be eligible for top secret.
O’Bryan said there is an emphasis on joint experience for reservists. Ideally, officials would like reservists to have taken joint professional military education courses and have experience at large joint headquarters.
Once accepted, the reservists will receive specific training both online and in person for their jobs, O’Bryan said. The core groups will be based in Norfolk, but recruiting isn’t limited to the area.
O’Bryan said he has already received 75 applications, and has six people under orders. The reserve portion has an initial operational capacity date of Oct. 1, with full operational capability set for December 2008, “but the sooner the better,” he said.