By SFC Will Patterson, USARAF Contingency Command Post Public AffairsOctober 24, 2013
As a preventive measure on the anniversary of Sept. 11, Soldiers from U.S. Army Africa Contingency Command Post (USARAF CCP) deployed to Rhine Ordnance Barracks, Germany, Sept. 7-17. This 10-man team was sent to establish an Early Entry Command Post (EECP) in support of a company-sized, quick reaction force to be on standby if needed.
Quick Reaction Force (QRF)
"We were there to provide mission control if the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) was called into action," said Maj. Ivan Palacios, the deputy officer in charge of the mission. "This was the first time the CCP has been called to assist with this mission."
While the reason for the deployment was readiness, it also provided ample training opportunities for both departing personnel and those staying behind.
"We developed new standing operating procedures for future contingency operations while coordinating and capturing ongoing events," Palacios said. The deployment highlighted importance of coordinating and synchronizing across multiple staff sections.
Working closely with USARAF intel, operations, logistics, and contracting sections while coordinating with the Headquarters Support Company, the team was able to move out within a week from notice of mission.
"This served as a good deployment validation for us," said Maj. Matthew Davis, an operations officer in the EECP. "We ran through all the deployment systems; SRP, customs, and logistics."
Moving across international borders
One of the many challenges with a quick response deployment like this is dealing with logistics of moving not only personnel, but also equipment across international borders.
Crossing a country's borders while meeting all requirements to do so was a difficult task to accomplish. It involved everything from vehicle and equipment inspections, to coordinating support vehicles, to setting times for it all to happen quickly.
"Coordinating with our unit, installation, U.S., Italian, Austrian and German customs offices was a challenging mission," said Chief Warrant Officer Daniel Felten, logistics officer for the CCP. "Each office provided tremendous support to meet the requirements and timelines and ensure mission success."
Once in Germany the EECP quickly set up and started monitoring both open source information and intelligence reports.
"During day-to-day operations we were linked into the [Current Operations Integration Center] and the QRF maintaining an alert posture," Davis said. Using organic communications equipment to keep everything connected the mission was a success.
"Though we weren't called into action, we were ready." Palacios said.
What are a CCP and COIC?
USARAF's CCP is a 96-man contingency command post that provides the core for a joint task force or a joint force land component command. It also provides mission command for deployed forces in Africa for humanitarian assistance, combat or security operations, peace operations and the extraction of Americans from hostile areas.
USARAF's COIC is a 31-man team that monitors, assesses, collects, and processes operational information to produce and share a Common Operating Picture (COP) with USARAF. A primary function of the COP is to provide real-time tracking of people in Africa and is a primary tool to present up-to-date information to support the commanding general's decision-making. It is also used to play the "what if" game to prepare for developing situations.