Soldiers of the 364th Expeditionary Sustainment Command seemed to be speaking a different language during their unit's Joint Operations Center Exercise, Feb. 28-March 4.

Acronyms like COP (Common Operating Procedure) and RFI (Request for Information) could be heard everywhere as soldiers trained to perform each of their staff functions in a deployed, joint environment.

During the exercise, soldiers are working in a simulated JOC. Their function is to monitor and implement operations orders and ensure the commanding general's objectives are being met. They also have to maintain ground, air and naval situations while continuously monitoring the enemy threat.

"The staff here is learning to acquire the information necessary to make good decisions and develop good plans so that their commander can make the right decisions," said Sgt. Maj. Jesse Amado, an observer controller trainer (OC/T) and the non-commissioned officer in charge (NCOIC) of the 2nd Battle Command Training Group, 75th Battle Command Training Division, here to oversee the training.

Sgt. 1st Class Sid Grant is the 364th ESC's force protection NCOIC.

"JOCEX is teaching me how to receive and decipher information as a staff-level NCOIC for force protection," Grant said.

As the force protection NCOIC, Grant's duties are to monitor the status of his assigned forces and their resources. Grant provides information to aid in allocating and moving those forces and their materials.

Soldiers working in the JOC receive different types of information through what they call 'injects' and fragmentary orders, or FRAGOS. The information is sent to the JOC via telephone and e-mail; once received, it is up to soldiers and their individual staff sections to gather and disseminate the information as quickly as possible.

"I'm a hands-on guy," Grant said. "I learn by doing, and this training is requiring me to test my skills as an NCO.

"It's helping me to develop the skills that I will need to accomplish my mission downrange," he added.

Trainers said the exercise has real-world implications for the soldiers of the 364th ESC.

"Soldiers participating in this exercise learn that the recommendations that they make to their commander have serious impacts for soldiers on the ground," Amado said.
Without accurate information commanders can't make informed tactical decisions, units aren't able to receive the support needed to accomplish their mission, troops on the ground are unaware of enemy in their areas and higher headquarters will be misinformed.

"A commander should be able to walk into his JOC and understand, without asking, what is happening in his area of operations within 10 minutes," Amado said. "That is the goal we are trying to reach with this exercise.

"The end result of this training is mission success," he added.

Editor's note: Spc. Christopher Bigelow is a photojournalist assigned to the 364th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, Seattle.