NECC Adaptive Force Package Debuts in JTFEX “Operation Brimstone”

For the first time in a joint task force exercise (JTFX), the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command employed the adaptive force package (AFP) concept as part of “Operation Brimstone” July 21-28.

Capt. Anthony Krueger, commander of Navy Expeditionary Combat Task Group (NECTG) 955.6, said the concept of tailoring the right force to the right job proved itself during the exercise and helped prepare NECC forces to confront actual missions if required.

“If we have to do this for real, we now have a better idea of what it’s going to take to make it work in a real-world operation,” said Krueger, who also serves commodore of Riverine Group 1.

The NECTG 955.6 staff had task group coordination abilities and responsibilities during Operation Brimstone equal to USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Strike Group or USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) Expeditionary Group. NECTG directed about 750 Sailors of the expeditionary forces participating among the 15,000 service members from four nations in JTFEX.

“We’re really just in a better position than anybody else in the Navy to command and control our forces,” Krueger said.

He added that NECC gained valuable experience, logistics knowledge and vital lessons learned needed to get the job done when deployed. Smaller exercises led to the development of the AFP.

Lt. Cmdr. Charles McKinney, NECTG operations officer, said the AFP gave NECC greater visibility in the fleet while demonstrating that the concept worked.

“The adaptive force package concept is important because it fills gaps. It also provides a cohesive unity of effort and strengths between its subordinate commands.”

JTFEX demonstrated AFP integration of active-duty and Reserve forces, as well, Krueger said. For example, Reservists of Maritime Security Squadron 10 from Jacksonville, Fla., worked in tandem with active-duty Sailors of Riverine Squadron 1 from Little Creek, Va., to accomplish mission goals, he said.

“The adaptive force package was able to meld together those capabilities of both active and Reserve NECC forces that were under my command,” he said.

The commodore added that NECC couldn’t do its job without Reservists, who make up 47 percent of the 42,000-Sailor strong command.

Liaison officers on the central AFP staff also functioned cohesively.

“We melded very well together as a staff,” said Lt. Cmdr Kelly Armstrong, NECTG judge advocate general who advised the NECTG staff on rules of engagement and the law of armed conflict.

The exercise also demonstrated the capability of NECC units to deploy anywhere on short notice, Krueger said.

“Pick a country anywhere in the world; we can be there in a couple days.”

Expeditionary Sailors from across NECC, including Seabees and Riverine Sailors participated in JTFEX. The specific units included Riverine Squadron 1; Maritime Expeditionary Squadron 10; an air detachment from Naval Construction Forces Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11 based in Gulfport, Miss.; Navy Cargo Handling Battalion 3 based in Alameda, Calif.; and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 6 and a support unit from Little Creek, Va.

NECTG units operated in North Carolina at Camp LeJeune, Elizabethtown, Wilmington and Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point. Some units also operated in Williamsburg, Va.

NECC also provided an AFP coordination staff in July for the biennial Rim of the Pacific exercise in and around the waters of Oahu.

Barrie Barber (NNS)

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