Coalition/Joint Task Force-Kuwait (C/JTF-KU)
Established during Operation DESERT THUNDER I and continuously manned since February 1998, C/JTF-KU (Fwd) provides a forward command and control headquarters capable of rapid expansion to execute joint, combined, and coalition combat operations and maintains area situational awareness by daily coordination with the Air Force and Navy Joint Task Forces in Saudi Arabia and Baharain, respectively. C/JTF-KU (Fwd) also has tactical control of all Army forces deployed in Kuwait and U.S. Marine forces when ashore in Kuwait.
Beginning in February 1998, General Anthony C. Zinni, Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command (CINCCENT), increased the number of bombers, strike aircraft, and Tomahawk land attack missiles deployed in Southwest Asia. At the same time, he requested deployment of a potent ground force. The message was clear - this would not be business as usual - as more than 35,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, as well as coalition forces, deployed to the Gulf.
In support of this powerful multi-service, multinational ground force, Coalition/Joint Task Force-Kuwait (C/JTF-KU) was established in 1998 under the command of Lt. Gen. Tommy R. Franks, Commander, Third U.S. Army and U.S. Army Forces Central Command (ARCENT). The C/JTF-KU quickly became a professional warfighting organization. As the Army component of United States Central Command (CENTCOM), ARCENT, headquartered at Fort McPherson, Ga., was selected by General Zinni to form C/JTF-KU because of its significant forward presence at Camp Doha, Kuwait, and its capable planning and operational experience in the region.
As its name implies, C/JTF-KU was conceived as a multinational force designed to deter aggression against US allies, to assure allies of US commitment to defense of the region, and, if necessary, to defend Kuwait. The 11-nation C/JTF-KU received forces and force pledges from America's longstanding allies including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. It also received forces from other military partners including Argentina, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Romania. Completing the C/JTF-KU was the host nation of Kuwait, along with Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine forces from the United States.
One of the benefits of establishing the C/JTF-KU was greatly enhanced U.S./Kuwaiti military coordination and cooperation. Another positive aspect was the integration of coalition partners into U.S. regional contingency planning efforts. Such planning and mutual support had not been accomplished to this extent since the Gulf War. The deployment of these forces, coupled with the creation of C/JTF-KU, sent an unmistakable message to Saddam Hussein and his political and military followers: a worldwide coalition defends Kuwait.
Advances in command, control, communications, computer and intelligence (C4I) technology and prepositioned equipment sets, ashore and afloat, enabled the C/JTF-KU to precisely tailor forces to be deployed. The C/JTF-KU stood-up as a predominantly fully operational land task force, although each of the other services was represented as necessary to establish a truly "purple" organization.
The selection of Camp Doha, Kuwait, as the forward staging base and headquarters site for Operation DESERT THUNDER, proved to be a critical element in success of the operation. Superb facilities, command and control infrastructure, logistics base, and prepositioned equipment allowed air and ground forces to quickly deprive Iraq of preemptive options.
Upon activation of the C/JTF-KU, the in-country assets fell under the control of the C/JTF-KU commander. IRIS GOLD transitioned to a special operations command and control element under tactical control of the C/JTF-KU. NAVCENT, the Joint Psychological Operations Task Force, the Joint Special Operation Task Force, and MARCENT all established liaison cells in the COIC. All remained under the command and control of CENTCOM and had coordination authority with C/JTF-KU. Coalition members sending liaison officers were provided office space in the COIC but were separated from the operations and intelligence areas. A C/JTF-KU coordination cell, commanded by a U.S. colonel, provided connectivity and support assistance and acted as a direct staff representative to the various liaison teams.
C/JTF-KU was supported by a robust MASINT presence, with Mobile Ground Station Module teams from the 513th MI Force Projection Brigade providing Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) downlinks to the Deep Operations Coordination Centers at both the land component command headquarters (the tactical command post) and the COIC. In addition to the Mobile Ground Station Modules, a stand-alone joint STARS workstation was deployed and tested at C/JTF-KU headquarters with great success. JSTARS was a successful piece of an overall superb targeting effort that was exercised by the C/JTF-KU during a one-week Deep Operations Center exercise and a coalition command post exercise.
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