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NEWS | June 28, 2022

Current Operations Information Center to aid First Army mission

By Warren W. Marlow

ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. – If the nation goes to war, First Army, as the premier trainer of the Reserve Component, must be ready. To help facilitate that readiness, First Army headquarters is in the process of standing up a Current Operations Information Center.

“We want to get to operating now like we would in a wartime situation,” said Mickoyan Williams, First Army watch chief. “We’ll have the same briefings, the same flow so that we are accustomed to it.” When complete, the center will free up space for First Army to conduct routine tasks while also enabling it to run 24-7 operations during an emergency or Large Scale Mobilization Operation (LSMO), which is the process of getting Army Reserve and Army National Guard Soldiers onto the battlefield.

During a LSMO or emergency, Williams said each directorate would have a seat in the center, as would a liaison officer from both First Army divisions. This will foster better communication between directorates and help to streamline processes. “When operating as an entity in the COIC, you’re right there,” Williams explained. Having a member of each directorate present will lessen the need for repeated e-mails and phone calls, enabling tasks to be completed more smoothly.

“If we have a Large Scale Mobilization Operation, then it’s full-up and all the seats are filled,” Williams said. In a more routine environment, meetings and VTCs can be moved from the Pershing Conference Room to the COIC, freeing up space for other requirements.

“Let’s say we’re doing something with the commanding general,” Williams said. “All the elements are right there. So if the CG has a question of PAO, G2, G1 or any directorate, he can get immediate feedback.”

Additionally, the COIC will simplify the mobilization process. “If you’re there on a full-time basis, anything that goes on you’re right in the mix,” Williams explained. “You understand the situation, you understand what’s going right, what’s going wrong, and you can relay that to your boss. We want to get to operating now like we would in a wartime situation. We’ll have the same briefings, the same flow so that we are accustomed to it.”

To help prepare for the transition, Williams said First Army is “going through a series of command post exercises” to test the system. “We’ve had work groups coming together to refine what we are doing.”

Lt. Col. Joseph Myers, First Army current operations chief, described the COIC as “a tactical operations center and a center for integration and operations. Besides being able to fully staff in event of LSMO, the COIC allows other space to be freed up.

“Last year we conducted Pershing Strike in the Pershing Conference Room. That is the only place within First Army headquarters where it can happen,” Myers said. “First Army has meetings, conferences, and working groups, so no other conference room besides the PRC is adequate for such requirements and Pershing Strike support simultaneously.” That meant other requirements have been squeezed out; when the COIC is complete, that problem will be alleviated.

That will be even more important in the event of a LSMO. “If there is ever a large-scale mobilization, the COIC is designed to absorb that requirement,” Myers said. “So all these things that First Army does on a routine basis can still happen. We’re making sure that at steady-state or LSMO, First Army can accomplish its regular missions and its deployable missions. Everybody would have a seat there. If something comes in overnight that is pertinent to the deployment of a unit, the welfare of a unit, or the readiness of that unit, we’d have to get the information as soon as possible and get it to the right people.”