LIVORNO, Italy – U.S. Army Africa Soldiers assigned to the early entry command post deployed to Camp Darby, Italy, on Sept. 9, as part of the EECP readiness exercise, which demonstrates the command’s ability to employ its expeditionary mission command capability.
“The early entry command post is a multifunctional, scalable node that allows the commanding general of U.S. Army Africa to exercise mission command against various contingency operations on the continent of Africa,” said Lt. Col. Paul Hilaski, the U.S. Army Africa early entry command post chief. “The majority of situations we look to deploy are for humanitarian disaster relief, political unrest and noncombatant evacuation operations.”
The two-week training event provided an opportunity to exercise the EECPs communications, logistical and operational capabilities, which are critical for contingency operations that could require U.S. Army Africa to deploy forces. To sustain these capabilities, the EECP maintains the ability to quickly deploy forces into the African theater and establish an initial presence from a forward-deployed location, often in support of a lead federal agency, such as the U.S. State Department or the United States Agency for International Development.
“We look for opportunities to deploy away from home station to maintain our readiness and our ability to exercise our contingency mission,” Hilaski said. “The EECP packs up all of our equipment, moves personnel out, sets up and establishes all of our communications systems and practices conducting operations.”
When the EECP is sent forward, it establishes initial communication capabilities and begins generating situational awareness on the ground. The contingency command post, established after the EECP, provides increased operational capacity and incorporates additional support, communications and personnel. Like the EECP, the larger CCP provides a potential joint task force with a command post-forward to increase cooperation between other partners, including host nation and nongovernmental organizations.
“The EECP is important because it provides U.S. Army Africa and (U.S. Africa Command) the ability to rapidly forward deploy a command post anywhere on the continent of Africa and provides real-time situational information for contingency or partner relations,” said Maj. Phillip Martin, the EECP post deputy chief.
“This exercise builds upon lessons learned during previous deployments and continues to build readiness and cohesion among the team,” Martin said. “This training gives us the opportunity to refine our standard operating procedures, tactics, techniques and procedures and continue to improve operational readiness.”