The first of its kind, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa’s forward command post (FCP) gives US Africa Command (Africom) and CJTF-HOA an eyes-on capability and amplifies its ability to rapidly respond to a crisis or humanitarian incident in Africa.
“Our mission is to effectively counter violent extremists in Somalia and East Africa,” said US Navy Chief Petty Officer Robert Hunter, CJTF-HOA Operations, Planning and Training operations chief. “The FCP lets us get critical information to decision-makers faster, making us better at saving innocent peoples’ lives.”
The command’s newly established joint FCP environment brings together marines, airmen, soldiers and sailors in the fields of intelligence, communications, personnel, operations, logistics, plans, comptroller, training and exercises.
Once the FCP and its components reach the geographic location in which they’re most useful it can be assembled and configured in various ways to optimally accommodate mission requirements.
All FCP configurations use the same central tent, HDT Global’s AirBeam Shelter. According to HDT, the AirBeam Shelter can support command and control operations, ideal for a joint operations centre.
“The AirBeam system is built up with five separate beams that fill with air and takes about an hour to set up. If you add separate soft tent systems that go with it, it can take up to six hours in total to set up,” Hunter said.
Overall, mobile tents, generators and supplies such as tables and chairs can be transported to operating areas with CJTF-HOA air assets or Humvees.
After the FCP is fully built the number of personnel required to operate it depends on the type of operation it will be used for.
“For a full operation, you’re looking at 25 to 35 personnel, but a minimal operation would require only 8 to 12 people,” he said.
With the testing phase of the FCP complete, the current focus is on preparing the tent system for future use in CJTF-HOA’s 2,4-million square mile combined joint operations area in East Africa.
“This is a brand-new system and obviously has never been used before, so we’re taking time now to make sure we’ll have no issues with it when the time comes to use it in the real world,” Hunter said.