News: The JOC is the center of it all
Story by Staff Sgt. Shane Dorschner
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska – Service members from the Joint Operations Center provide civil service, homeland defense and mission assurance for Joint Task Force Alaska, Alaska Command here on a daily basis as well as in support of Alaska Shield 14.
Typically the JOC is run by a five to six person skeleton crew as a part of current operations that report directly to Air Force Lt. Gen. Russell J. Handy, Commander, Joint Task Force Alaska, on significant events going on in Alaska, said Army Maj. Donald (Robbie) Johnson, Chief of Current Operations for Alaska Command, JTF-Alaska.
If an incident or any type of crisis happens, such as a natural disaster or a homeland defense situation, they are the first responders for the command to get the JOC up and running, said Maj. Johnson.
JTF-Alaska has agreements and partnerships in place with the State of Alaska, Coast Guard, Air Force and other agencies to provide support if called on in the event of an emergency to augment their staff. This includes subject matter experts in areas such as land, air, search and rescue, command and maritime operations, said Maj. Johnson.
“Once we say, hey we need help, they're gonna' bring the right help,” said Johnson. “The key people will come up here and augment our staff.”
Johnson went on to say that the JOC is the focal point of providing information from the DOD's perspective to the state. “We're here to support the state,” he said.
Alaska Shield 14 is an exercise that involves state, federal, military and local agencies, designed to test the response and coordination of the disaster modeled after the 1964 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated much of South Central Alaska.