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Expeditionary Theater Opening (ETO)

What is it?
The ETO operations encompass the critical initial actions involved in the rapid insertion and expansion of force capabilities into an area of operations. The ETO changes the way we do business today and well into the 21st Century. The capability of strategic lift to move personnel, equipment, and materiel to the theater reception points must be matched by the capability to receive and process the force. The operational concept on which expeditionary and campaign-quality theater opening capability is built allows the Army to perform the full range of theater opening tasks under all access conditions. These tasks include:

  • Opening and operating ports of debarkation.
  • Establishing and operating the initial distribution system.
  • Conducting and controlling reception, staging, and onward movement activities.
  • Providing operational sustainment (engineers, medical, personnel).
  • Providing for force protection and basic life support functions for units deploying into the theater of operation.

The ETO must be able to support a full range of military operations that includes varying threat conditions and vast capabilities differences in theater reception infrastructure. These capabilities may also be required to augment a host nation or create the initial reception infrastructure that will support any envisioned expansion requirements by military forces.

What has the Army done?
The Joint Staff G-4 designated the Army G-4 as the lead to develop this concept. The Army G-4 brought together a Joint team to analyze the shortfalls and develop alternative solutions to existing gaps. These efforts led to the development of options to determine the best way to approach existing shortfalls. The final document has been submitted to the Joint Staff for approval through the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development (JCIDS) process.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
With the Army G-4’s support, the Joint Staff (J-4) is leading the effort through the JCIDS staffing and approval process. Once approved as a program of record, the J-4 and the Army G-4 will transition this concept to the Commander, Joint Forces Command for execution.

Why is this important to the Army?
The ETO will provide much needed Joint doctrine and training thus enabling better use of the assets. This is accomplished by developing menus and templates of Rapid Port Opening force capabilities for the Joint Force Commander to determine the type of capability he or she needs for the deployed environment. The ETO adds the necessary Joint standards, doctrine, and training for U.S. forces by incorporating them into theater opening exercises within the Joint training and exercise program.

POC: MAJ Guillermo Torres (703) 614-1066

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