U.S. Army Reserve's 208th Army Liaison Team, followed by the 206th Army Liaison Team (a Direct Reporting Unit of the 412th Theater Engineer Command), has performed the task of leading the Spin Boldak Joint Border Coordination Center (JBCC), over the last twelve months. Located in a rural setting, just 8 kilometers from Afghanistan-Pakistan border, the JBCC serves as the central information node in Regional Commands South and Southwest. They conduct cross-border coordination and communication, while embedded with Liaison Officers from the Afghan Border Police, Afghan National Army, and Pakistan Military. Additionally they facilitate intelligence sharing between the three nations, and promote complimentary operations in order to deny cross-border illicit activities, de-conflict near border operations and attacks, and enhance Afghanistan/Pakistan (AFPAK) border relations. The end state of their mission in 2014 is to establish the conditions for an AFPAK Border Coordination Center that can stand alone as the border de-confliction entity between the two nations.
The unique mission and organizational composition requires greater understanding of strategic relationships. The JBCC environment is fast moving, requiring soldiers to go from a tactical skill set, into operational understanding, and on to strategic level decisions and notification in a matter of minutes. The train-up for this mission required all U.S. personnel to complete Battle Staff, and undergo multiple cultural awareness training courses related to both Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as insider threat training, to mitigate the potential for an insider attack or green-on-blue event, prior to operating in this joint environment. Soldiers also completed training in Dari, Pashto and Urdu, along with the Combat Advisor Course at Ft. Polk, Louisiana. Additionally, the JBCC team is comprised of personnel with a wide array of strategic, operational and tactical experience; from personnel operating within CENTCOM to Joint Task Forces, the collective fusion of these personnel creates an enhanced capability for joint coordination within the JBCC Area of Responsibility.
The JBCC at Spin Boldak has responsibility for over 1,342 kilometers of the Afghanistan border with Pakistan and Iran. This requires the operations and intelligence sections to conduct daily coordination with cells from both Regional Command South and Regional Command Southwest. Regular training on implementation of Battle Drills is crucial to the required split second coordination that is necessary to de-conflict cross border incidents. While prevention and mitigation of cross border incidents is paramount to our daily operation, a key focus of JBCC personnel is instilling a willingness by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to sustain cross border communication and coordination leading into ISAF withdrawal in 2014. Since the mission end state is a bi-partite operation, run and led by Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), there are daily ANSF development programs that are coordinated and taught by NCOs to their ANSF counterparts. These include classes in mission command, movement and maneuver, intelligence sharing and gathering, sustainment, creation of a common operating picture and English.
JBCC operational lines of effort include border deconfliction of all kinetic activity along the border area. The presence of ISAF personnel within the JBCC enhances the overall capability of ANSF and PAKMIL to both timely and effectively mitigate cross border events that could result in an international crisis. Furthermore, during a cross border event, the JBCC directly engages in cross border coordination between both ANSF and PAKMIL LNOs to timely mitigate the continuation of cross border activity. Failure to react timely can result in loss of life to military and local national populations. The JBCC is also tasked with enforcement of the Tri Partite Border Agreement (AFG, PAK, ISAF). It provides the framework and necessary guidance to allow the continued engagement of ISAF, ANSF and PAKMIL to coordinate in order to enhance border security along the Durand Line.
The JBCC mission is currently being performed by five Army Reserve Officers, and twelve Army Reserve Enlisted soldiers. The team make up is a Director (COL), Deputy Director (LTC), an Operations section made up of an Infantry LTC, SFC (11B) 2 x SGT (11B), 2 x SPC (35M), SFC (25B), SPC (25B); an Intel section made up of a Intel First Lieutenant, MSG (35Z), SGT (35F), SPC (35F); and a support section made up of a Supply First Lieutenant, SFC (42A) and SGT (92Y). While tense at times, the mission still allows for cultural engagements and friendship building with our ANSF and PAKMIL partners. Throughout the year our partners put together briefings on Ramadan, Eids, Afghanistan Independence and Pakistan Independence Day, Martyr's Day etc. JBCC ISAF actively respects and honor their holy days and holidays. The reward is enjoyment of local cuisine, music and sharing of customs and information. The JBCC ISAF also conducts briefings, and the ANSF and PAKMIL are a part of our special days as well. This has fostered a magnificent relationship with our counterparts that extend from the briefing room and dinner table, into the Tactical Operation Center to deconflict and mitigate events.
Recently we were recipients of a Battle Field circulation by the Army Reserve Affairs Team. It was great timing as four of our JBCC soldiers were able to take advantage of the visit to receive professional guidance, and consequently reenlist. It was a great event attended like all events by ISAF and our ANSF and PAKMIL partners.
The JBCC mission is about nation building. There are not many combat missions that offer tactical, operational and strategic interactions and learning as a joint partner. The joint skill set that has been attained by many of the young soldiers, at this point in their career, cannot help but yield positive results for the Reserve for