(NORFOLK, Va. - Nov. 30, 2006) -- U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) will hold a command control, communications and computer (C4) planners course in January to provide knowledge and experience of joint systems in theater.

The course, developed by USJFCOM\'s Joint Warfighting Center (JWFC) and the C4 Systems Directorate (J6) along with the U.S. Army Signal Center at Ft. Gordon, Ga., will address combatant command (COCOM) - identified issues of C4 planners arriving in theater without joint systems training.

Army Maj. Rod Garfield, joint C4 information branch chief, explained the purpose of the course.

"The goal for the course is two-fold; first is to bring about a common baseline or interoperability across the services so they can speak to each other with one commonality on command, control, communications and computer systems in support of the Long War," he said. "More importantly, is for each graduate to possess the 'know how' required to operate successfully on a COCOM or joint staff."

Garfield said USJFCOM's J6, as well as the U.S. Central Command's J6, felt that this course would expose warfighters, who go over to Iraq or Afghanistan, to the steep learning curve they face.

"You're going to need people that hit the ground, that can come in and engineer the systems and be able to provide the warfighters with they type of communications support they require," he said.

"This is a joint course that teaches Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines as of now. It's going to teach how to survive. It's going to be five to six weeks long and teach about all the different systems and domains, everything we face over there with the Long War," said Garfield.

He mentioned that the course is designed for communicators from the COCOM to the component level. USJFCOM is also currently exploring the possibility of participation by multinational partners.

The major also stated the course will be pushed to as many C4 planners as possible at all levels. "We're going to take it down to the component and all the way down to the corps and the divisions and then up to field grade officers, senior non-commissioned officers, and chief warrant officers," said Garfield.

Smaller courses for eight to12 students are planned early in 2007 and organizers planned a larger course for 20 students shortly after. Future plans for five classes per year with 15 students per class are ongoing.

"The mini-courses are scheduled from January through February and in April 2007. That will be the first course," said Garfield. He also indicated an online course will be available in 2008."