Interagency Synchronization Forum
“The JTF is seeking authorities for cross border pursuit of terrorist suspects.”
“Our Embassy can indeed provide support to a small military security force at the Evacuation Control Centers.”
These are two comments heard within the past two months at J9-organized Interagency Synchronization Forums (IASF, not to be confused with “ISAF” in Afghanistan): one for an exercise and the later for contingency planning. They are both interagency-related remarks and the IASF was the right venue for considering such issues.
The forum is chaired by the EUCOM Civilian Deputy to the Commander, a former ambassador and the most senior interagency representative on the staff. The meeting links EUCOM with affected U.S. Embassies, the State Department Operations Center, the political advisors of subordinate Joint Task Forces, and with agency representatives and members of the EUCOM headquarters staff.
The EUCOM IASF was born of necessity as a response to the Russian invasion of Georgia in August 2008. It was organized then by the J9 to better link the geographic combatant commander with the Crisis Response Team established at the State Department.
Even the timing of the hour-long video teleconference has been dictated by a desire to talk to decision-makers in Washington, DC, during their work hours. IASFs are now part of EUCOM’s “battle rhythm”and the outcomes are summarized and shared with other EUCOM leaders at scheduled command-wide briefings.
A military command is an acronym-rich environment, and the IASF is now very much a part of the EUCOM vernacular. Indeed, the forum has been lauded by a number of outside organizations who have observed and commented on the IASFs held during annual EUCOM exercises. “If it didn’t exist, I’d recommend that it should”, was just one comment Another said, “A “best practice” to be shared with other combatant commands.” Most recently, Special Operations Command and their observers, commented on the value of the venue.
This tool the EUCOM leadership “tool box” works because it simply does what its title implies: it offers a forum for synchronizing; it facilitates the coordination of interagency equities; and allows the command to consider important political-military integration issues.
The IASF is “whole of government” in action, with EUCOM, a military geographic command, fully recognizing that it does not have all the answers and wisely listening, considering and leveraging interagency viewpoints raised at this valuable venue.
J9- Interagency Partnering Directorate