Flagship Organization for Joint Operations Sets New Course

May 6, 2011
By Beverly Schaeffer

The U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) has propelled U.S. military transformation over the past 12 years and is now under its own transition. JFCOM has completed its mission: making interoperability among the forces a reality. Now it must transform itself by devolving from the old and evolving into the new: organizations that are more pertinent to today's realities. JFCOM's mission and future are the topic of Maryann Lawlor's article, "JFCOM Implements Transition Plan," in this issue of SIGNAL Magazine. Lawlor gleans insight from JFCOM's commander, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, USA, as well as from her own years reporting on this combatant command's journey. Gen. Odierno is applying his tactical expertise-gained while leading U.S. troops in Iraq from combat to sustainment operations-to the huge task of transforming JFCOM into a completely new entity. The general is now directing the implementation stage to ensure a smooth transition. By examining JFCOM's core functions, the staff is working on ways to judiciously retain jointness over time, as well as to minimize the regional impact of job transitions and losses. The new organization will concentrate on three major areas: joint individual and collective training, joint concept development and joint doctrine development. These will be underpinned by modeling and simulation, as well as some experimentation. The Joint Staff J-7 will lead the new organization, which physically will be located at the existing Joint Warfighting Center. Possible name changes include the "Joint and Coalition Warfighting Center." The organization will comprise the Training Directorate, Synchronization/Integration Directorate and Joint Development Directorate; personnel in these directorates will meld their work and ideas to facilitate better coordination, according to Gen. Odierno:

I believe this new organization will be more efficient and effective.

The general is no stranger to JFCOM or to monumental transitions. He shares that, as the commanding general of U.S. Forces-Iraq, he benefited from many JFCOM-developed capabilities. It assisted in training at the large headquarters in Iraq and developed concepts that had him and his staff seeing the joint environment in different ways. JFCOM also helped guide the shift from counterinsurgency operations to stability operations in Iraq. In addition, it played a major role in introducing the Joint Urban Fires Prototype when U.S. military forces in Iraq were concerned about how to conduct joint fires in an urban environment. JFCOM also helped Gen. Odierno command forces in Iraq that experienced problems with standardization of the U.S. Air Force's Joint Terminal Attack Controller. Leading JFCOM's change over the next few months, Gen. Odierno is transforming on the fly. Affected command personnel, scheduled for relocation to Suffolk by March 2012, continue to work diligently on several projects. Earlier this year the command conducted its largest-ever joint training event, the Unified Endeavor 11-2 Operation Enduring Freedom mission rehearsal exercise. JFCOM simultaneously connected the U.S. Army's Battle Command Training Program, the U.S. Marine Corps' Air-Ground Task Force Staff Training Program, and NATO's Joint Force Training Center. The command also will maintain focus on unmanned aerial systems and on information operations through its Information Operations Range. These crucial areas will continue to receive attention and support, Gen. Odierno explains:

We've been working this very hard with each combatant command, service, coalition member and our joint team users. Information from events and exercises is shared. Each service, combatant command and coalition partner creates its own set of lessons learned, and then the joint lessons learned analysis team collects this data to review as JFCOM develops new concepts and doctrines moving forward.

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