NORFOLK, Va. -- Navy Expeditionary Combat Command’s Adaptive Force Package command element was put to the test, Sept. 16, and completed a major exercise that prepares them for future missions.
AFP brings NECC headquarters elements together as a command and control element for NECC forces. The AFP capitalizes on NECC capabilities creating synergy and the ability to task subordinate commands quicker and more effectively as needed.
“The NECC AFP command element is designed to exercise command and control, perform mission planning and execution, and otherwise lead and employ the AFP forces as efficiently and effectively as possible," said Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Reams, lead for AFP mission planning.
The exercise, organized by Expeditionary Training Group, was focused on command planning after an emergent call to deploy an expeditionary headquarters in short notice.
The AFP responded to a human disaster on the fictitious island nation called “purple”. In this scenario, the island recently suffered overwhelming devastation from a hurricane, and as part of a large government response, NECC AFP was tasked with providing a military headquarters element to lead, coordinate and execute for a military response.
“The NECC Crisis Response Adaptive Force Package staff certification event went very well,” said Capt. Michael Napolitano, commanding officer for ETG. “This operational concept will enable command and control and efficient employment of NECC forces in support of global combatant commander’s demands worldwide supporting the Navy's maritime strategy.
AFP was evaluated on their ability to plan an assessment of damaged airfields and sea ports in order to determine what services and resources were needed to deploy forces ashore as well as supporting the host nation in humanitarian relief efforts.
“Recent operations, particularly in Haiti, suggest the need for a more formalized approach to how NECC forces ensure they provide the right capabilities to support commanders at the right time,” said Reams. “NECC includes a broad array of expeditionary forces that are useful across the entire range of military operations that provide solutions to irregular challenges – standard maritime forces may not possess optimal capabilities to meet those requirements thereby requiring assembly of AFPs.”
According to Napolitano, ETG’s scenarios introduced complicated and challenging exercises that forced the AFP staff to develop the best plan in order to effectively solve the crisis.
Adding to the realism of the scenario ETG provided role players acting as government officials, media, host nation leaders and non-government organization aid workers operated aboard USS Oak Hill and also from a forward operating tent camp at St. Julien’s in Portsmouth.
“The AFP is an NECC initiative that answers the need for defense support of civil assistance or humanitarian assistance/disaster relief efforts,” said Reams. “I believe the need for AFPs will continue to rise as we see an increase in the irregular challenges posed by adversaries and the demand for expeditionary forces to respond to crisis situations.”