U.S. Army Africa Forward Command Post ready for worldwide missions
March 6, 2012
VICENZA, Italy (March 6, 2012) -- For the past 18 months, U.S. Army Africa Soldiers have worked toward developing flexible mobile communications command center that can function as the unit's headquarters anywhere in the world to respond to deployment requests from U.S. Africa Command.
Known as U.S. Army Africa's Forward Command Post, or FCP, it's similar to many Army tactical operations centers in appearance. However, its unique characteristics allow the FCP to provide vast variety of sophisticated radio, internet and video teleconference capabilities.
U.S. Army Africa, or USARAF, Contingency Command Post director Lt. Col. Tim Williams describes FCP features.
"Depending on the configuration of the command post, it can support anywhere from five to 200 users. We have radio communications, internet access to include classified networks and video teleconferencing ability. USARAF Commander Maj. Gen. [David A.] Hogg can be on the continent of Africa and talk face-to-face with anyone in the national command structure. The FCP provides the USARAF commander a communications capability that historically required us to rely on other organizations," Williams said.
During a recent tour of the FCP, Hogg commented on its distinctive capabilities.
"It's a uniquely configured Army system, plus it's self-sustainable. We don't need additional vehicles or equipment to load it, and we can drive on and off aircraft -- it's completely mobile," Hogg said.
"This system has enough capability to use Army and other systems to work in a joint, coalition and international environment. FCP fits our needs perfectly by providing us with better ability to support our component command, U.S. Africa Command," Hogg said.
According to Williams, the FCP allows USARAF to support a variety of missions.
"The primary mission sets are non-combatant evacuation operations, foreign humanitarian, disaster relief and peace missions as required. Additionally, we can support training exercises anywhere on the African continent," Williams said.
Up to 30 USARAF Contingency Command Soldiers staff the FCP.
Sgt. Major Aaron Miller, noncommissioned officer in charge of the USARAF Contingency Command Post, reinforced the scope of operations that USARAF can tackle with the FCP.
"The FCP allows USARAF to have the capability to be the nucleus of a joint task force organization.," Miller said. "We have integrated the Army's battle command systems with our information systems and a robust communications package as well. We can communicate worldwide," he said.
At the end of his tour, Hogg expressed his gratitude to Soldiers of the USARAF G-6, Communications and Information Services and higher headquarters.
"The heroes are our 'comms' guys," Hogg said. "USARAF's G-6 was instrumental in making this happen. We started this process about 18 months ago and without them, this wouldn't be a reality. So, 'hats off' to the G-6 gang and thanks to the department of the Army. Without their support this wouldn't have happened," Hogg said.