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[infowar.de] EPOC: New center streamlines EUCOM operations
New center streamlines EUCOM operations
By David Josar <mailto:josard -!
- mail -
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
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
?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,
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
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
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
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
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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