Continuity in a command environment is vital to the success of the mission and/or the programme an individual is responsible for Staff Sergeant Carlin Leslie of US Africa Command writes on the Command website.
Building an environment where that continuity, leadership and teamwork grows is the vision of the Fusion Action Cell (FAC) and the Threat Security Co-Operation Hive that went fully operational at Camp Lemonnier at the beginning of November.
The Hive is an integral part of the re-organisation of CJTF-HOA (Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa), building and joining together joint, inter-agency, inter-governmental and multi-national teammates from Djibouti, Somalia, Ethiopia, Burundi, Kenya and Uganda, building leaders and giving them the opportunities to succeed.
“Building the relationships between our African team mates is a must to provide the best Combined Joint Task Force possible. The men and women who work day and night in the Fusion Action Cells are at the forefront of innovation in mission command, joining partner countries together for a greater good and I could not be prouder of their efforts and strides they have made,” said Major General Wayne W. Grigsby Jr., Commander CJTF-HOA.
According to him, the old regional engagement branch consisted of one single desk officer per country. The cells now consist of a country liaison officer and six other officers allowing greater continuity of information sharing.
Using this concept the FAC will no longer rely on only one person’s knowledge and will have resilience–a means of establishing a corporate memory and enable long-term planning.
With each FAC as a force multiplier of its own, the cells are joined in the Threat Security Co-Operation Hive, building on information sharing and using issues and threats from other countries to help plan for future events.
“Perhaps the most important part of the re-organisation is that officers from our African partner nations are now central in the cells and desk teams. Using the unclassified work environment, allowing the liaisons to contribute to everything we do here.” Colonel Timothy Connors, FAC/HIVE director, said.
While the FAC/HIVE mission command is real world and face-to-face, it is supported by the All Partners Access Network (APAN). This web-based application is a collection of communities developed to foster information and knowledge sharing between the US Department of Defence and non-DOD entities that do not have access to traditional DOD networks.
APAN offers online collaboration tools that can be used alone or in conjunction with other tools to develop unique online community space.
“The FAC is a relationship and team building experience that promotes the fraternity of the profession of arms, while also bringing to life the global coalitional spirit in the fight against global terrorism. Then, using real-time multimedia opportunities offered by APAN is an excellent learning and professionally enriching experience,” said Lieutenant Colonel Okei Rukogota, Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces liaison officer.
According to Rukogota, the FAC has made the country liaison officers critical participants in the formulation, planning and execution of missions, engagements and tasks. This enables timely and efficient planning of customised partnerships between countries.
The Hive is attached to the Civil Affairs Battalion allocated to CJTF-HOA, allowing it to act on information gleaned and assist their Eastern African teammates in the fight against violent extremist organisations. The Hive provides a fresh perspective for regionally approached commands and has possible uses in other parts of the world.