8/31/2015 10:34 AM
by Lt. Gen. Robert S. Ferrell, Chief Information Officer, G-6
In addition to the joint force, the Army operates alongside a wide array of mission partners. These partners include allied and coalition members, international agencies and non-governmental organizations. As a result, the Mission Partner Environment (MPE) creates complex interoperability and communication challenges. I just returned from Gaborone, Botswana where I had the opportunity to observe elements of AFRICA ENDEAVOR (AE).
AE is U.S. Africa Command's (USAFRICOM) J6 Capstone engagement and annual, five-day Senior Leader Communications Symposium, focused on strategic level Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4) Techniques, Tactics, and Procedures (TTPs) to encourage communications interoperability and information sharing among our African partners. To date, through Africa Endeavor our partners have trained more than 1,800 communications specialists and military planners in C4 techniques, tactics and procedures. This year AE had participants from 40 African nations, six non-African partner nations, six international organizations, and all USAFRICOM components.
Creating the MPE we need requires us to include considerations across the combination of doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel and facilities (DOTMILPF). For the Army Network and the CIO/G-6, it means incorporating the right information sharing policies, as well as assessments of potential partner capabilities and compatibility with our communications and IT systems. Enhancing the MPE is a priority for the Combatant Commanders as they work to shape the operational environment and build partner capacity in their respective theaters.
To support this objective, the Army Warfighting Assessment (AWA), our annual exercise for developing concepts, capabilities and organizations, has a special focus on joint and multinational interoperability. In fact, during 2015, forces from as many as 16 foreign nations will be part of the AWA - which incorporates a Joint Interoperability Exercise called "Bold Quest." Pursuing the MPE is tough work and requires enthusiastic participation from all stakeholders. Teamwork is key.