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Afghan forces improve national communication flow

By Spc Nathan Hutchinson 22nd MPAD, CJTF-82 PAO

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Afghan national police 2nd Lt. Rayab Khan Shinghar, ANP representative for the Joint Regional Coordination Center briefs other representatives during a daily battle update brief in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, March 4. (U.S. Army photo)
Afghan national police 2nd Lt. Rayab Khan Shinghar, ANP representative for the Joint Regional Coordination Center briefs other representatives during a daily battle update brief in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, March 4. (U.S. Army photo)

GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan (March 12, 2008) — With the growth of Afghan National Security Forces since the establishment of democracy in Afghanistan, the need for consolidated information and authority has become essential.

One way in which consolidated information and authority is disseminated, is through joint regional coordination centers.

JRCCs are comprised of about 20 military and police personnel who disseminate information and guidance to members of smaller tactical elements.

Such institutions require planning and management of units to happen in real-time 24 hours a day.

The JRCC is an example of the movement and management of information and personnel through tactical operations center-style operations.

Of the six JRCCs in place in Afghanistan, the JRCC for the eastern region, consisting of Paktya, Paktika, Khost and Ghazni provinces, is nearly fully operational.

“One of the main goals is to get all these provinces supplied with the same capabilities,” said Army Capt. Todd A. Book, mentor to JRCC East, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. “We need to get everyone operating with the same technology to allow fluid information exchange.”

JRCC East communicates with provincial coordination centers and the National Coordination Center, so the need for compatible equipment and programs across the board is important, said Book.

Along with technology comes training. The two-man mentor team provides help where it is needed and one place where it is focused during these early stages is computer fundamentals.

“We teach the senior [Afghan] non-commissioned officers and officers so they can train the others,” said Sgt. 1st Class Eric R. Lasica, also a JRCC mentor, 508th Special Troops Battalion, 4th BCT. “We have programs on the computer to help with typing. You have to start with the basics and work your way up.”

Along with computer training, Book and Lasica teach classes on map reading and filling out and distributing reports.

“We want to get them at the same dissemination of information and information flow capabilities we have,” Book said. “Along with that, we have to maintain a consistency throughout the whole country, because the information flow doesn’t stop here.”

Lasica said because information is being moved through the JRCC from the national level and provincial levels, the need for accurate and expedient communications is paramount.

“We have two of the provinces up on all communication capabilities; very similar to what we would have in our own TOC,” Book said. “We are still working with contractors to get the other two provinces on the same track."

“We still have radio communication, but we need to get Internet capabilities to help with reports and real-time information exchange.”

There is still a lot to be done, but Book feels he has seen dramatic improvements and growth in his two months of mentorship.

“We’re working on mentoring these guys to build capability and capacity,” Lasica said. “It is a slow process, but these guys have made leaps and bounds in the last couple months.”

Eventually, with the help of coalition forces, the JRCC will have the technology and experience to maintain accurate communications throughout the government and security forces.

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