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[] EPOC: New center streamlines EUCOM operations,

New center streamlines EUCOM operations 

By David Josar <mailto:josard -!
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Stars and Stripes European edition
Saturday, January 10, 2004

  STUTTGART, Germany ?
  Adjacent to the U.S. European
  Command Headquarters on Patch
  Barracks is the EUCOM Plans and
  Operations Center, a high-tech
  building that military officials say is
  the benchmark for the way the U.S.
  armed forces must operate now and
  in the future.

  The building ? known as the EPOC
  ? has been operating for seven
  months, giving EUCOM leaders a
  new way to do business.

  The center gives a better ?truth of the environment,? said Navy Rear
  Hamlin Tallent, the EPOC?s current and first director.

  That, he explained, can make all the difference when the U.S. military
  trying to influence a decision, whether that be taking out a dictator
such as
  Saddam Hussein or attempting to persuade a country, such as Syria, to
  more helpful in the U.S.- led war on terrorism.

  The EPOC is the result of a directive by Secretary of Defense Donald
  Rumsfeld following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to create more
  joint force headquarters,? which are capable of running a war as well
  deploying expertise and guidance to other headquarters. By fiscal year
  2005, each regional combatant command is to have one.

  Traditionally, Tallent explained, militaries have maintained a staff
  with separate personnel, intelligence, operations, logistics and
  functions. That method worked well for hundreds of years, but that
  architecture created a ?stovepipe? affect, where important
  because of the departmental organization, didn?t get to the right
  quickly enough.

  ?Now we have an approach where the right people get that information
  much more efficiently,? he said.

  The EPOC has about 190 billets, and more people are slowly being added
  as it gets up to full staff, said Air Force Lt. Col. Derek Kaufman.
  EUCOM staffers who need important information are in one large room,
  rather than in separate divisions in individual offices, Tallent said,
who noted
  the restructuring actually mimics what many successful businesses have
  in eliminating the need for middle managers.

  Earlier, EUCOM?s deputy commander, U.S. Air Force Gen. Charles Wald,
  said EPOC has ?shifted how we think.?

  ?The EPOC postures EUCOM to be a 24/7 war-fighting headquarters with
  the ability to respond rapidly,? he said when the building was
unveiled this
  past fall. ?The goal is improved, responsive war-fighting capability.?

  By appearances, the EPOC is from a Hollywood movie set, with
  computer monitors and a dozen or so projection televisions showing
  on the walls inside the main room, sort of an auditorium not unlike
the ones
  NASA uses to monitor space missions.

  Tallent said the EPOC uses commercially available equipment to
  and includes features such as video conferencing and satellite

  The EPOC consists of nine divisions, each headed by a colonel. They
  Operations, Information Operations, Knowledge Management/Information
  Superiority, Intelligence, Integrated Resources, Crisis and
  Plans, Campaign Plans, Joint Interagency Coordination Group, and
  Exercises and Training.

  The EPOC would have been created eventually, but the war on terrorism
  sped its implementation, Tallent said. ?We had to do things
differently,? he

  The EPOC has already proven its importance. When U.S. Marines were
  used off the coast of Liberia in August as a security force and to
  protect the U.S. Embassy there, EUCOM staff used the EPOC to monitor
  and help run the operation.

  In another recent case, Tallent said, EUCOM staff, because of the EPOC
  structure, identified a developing situation in Northern Africa and
  created a course of action.

  In the previous traditional ?stovepipe? method of organization, those
  would not have been working so deliberately or so closely to spot such
  problems, he said.

  The war on terrorism has forced the military to re-evaluate how it
  Tallent said. For example, one of the EPOC?s divisions is the Joint
  Interagency Coordination Group, which includes civilians from federal
  agencies, such as the one that monitors money flow to and from banks.

  The U.S. military, in fighting terror, has to interact with other
militaries, the
  State Department, the CIA and federal law enforcement agencies,

  With the Department of Defense, the individual branches of the armed
  forces work seamlessly together, but those ties remain less smooth
  other organizations and other countries, he said. The EPOC staff, he
  will continue to operate to get increased cooperation.

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