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Homeland Security

JTF-HD and the Hawaii National Guard Prepare for a National Special Security Event

September 8, 2011

By Darrell Ames, JTF-HD Public Affairs

Fort Shafter, HAWAII -- Preparing for a National Special Security Event (NSSE) is just one of many contingencies that Joint Task Force Homeland Defense (JTF-HD) and the Hawaii National Guard (HING) train for on a regular basis. These two organizations, along with a number of others, gathered on July 22nd to conduct an NSSE related table top exercise entitled KOKUA. The exercise is one of three Department of Defense (DOD) preparatory exercises for an upcoming NSSE later this year.

"This event provides United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) and HING the first opportunity to exercise a new Dual Status Command (C2) structure and decision making process with a blended staff," said Mel Garcia, JTF-HD Deputy J3.

The exercise was designed to review and validate the roles, responsibilities, and operational authorities of the Dual Status Commander (DSC) and the Joint Task Force Kupa'a (JTF-KUPA'A). It also illustrated the DSC's C2 relationships relative to other Department of Defense (DOD) Headquarters (HQs) for the planning and execution of DOD support to a NSSE.

"The KOKUA TTX and subsequent DOD and interagency NSSE exercises provides DOD several opportunities to test, validate and exercise the authorities, C2 and decision making process. Efficient, effective and successful DOD support to a safe and secure NSSE is vital," said Garcia.

The discussion-based exercise was divided into three modules with each scenario designed (with objectives and points of discussion) for the players to address and discuss particular C2 issues. The DSC and staff drove the exercise play/discussion based on their mission analysis of the scenario presented.

"External input and subject matter expert facilitation helped to gain a common understanding of the flow of the decision making process, roles/responsibilities and C2 authorities at each command level, as well as the actions we would take at each level," said Army Col. Fred Chesbro, J3 Director of Operations for the JTF-HD.

"We acknowledge that decisions made at the strategic/operational level will drive and shape the tactical environment and providing a framework of this environment will focus the efforts of the DSC," added Chesbro.

Overall goals of the exercise included validating and gaining concurrence of senior leaders regarding the roles, responsibilities, and operational level authorities of the DSC; identifying and understanding conditions-based decision points, triggers, and operational processes for JTF-KUPA'As mission execution; preparing the DSC and JTF-KUPA'A staff for future participation in NSSE related exercises; and obtaining guidance on Commander's Critical Information Requirements (CCIRs).

Headquartered at Fort Shafer, Hawaii, JTF-HD's mission is to execute domestic Land Domain operations, in close coordination, with civil authorities, to defeat terrorist threats to the U.S. Homeland (defined as the U.S. States and Territories, Possessions, Commonwealths; and Compact Nations in the Pacific), and when requested/validated, to conduct civil support [Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) or Foreign Humanitarian Assistance (FHA)] operations for all hazards including responding to, and recovering from, natural or man-made disasters across the Pacific.

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