NEWS

Joint Task Force Homeland Defense
Shows Mettle During APEC 2011

By JTF-HD Public Affairs


HONOLULU – Performing at a high level of success, when everyone is watching, is the quickest method of gaining respect in the world of athletics and team sports. Doing the same in just about any other venue is equally impressive. The same can be said for the staff of Joint Task Force Homeland Defense (JTF-HD). The Fort Shafter-based coordinating unit served as the Department of Defense (DOD) executive agent for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum held on the island of Oahu in November and performed admirably.

“I can’t say enough about our people and the fantastic job they did,” said JTF-HD Deputy Commander, Army Maj. Gen. Joseph Chaves. “This event is visible to the entire planet because APEC members account for approximately 40% of the world’s population, 54% of the world’s gross domestic product, and about 44% of the world trade. Our staff was extremely instrumental in ensuring, from the DOD side of the house, that this event was a huge success,” Chaves said.

“I can’t begin to describe the level of professionalism, dedication, and determination that JTF-HD displayed during this event,” said Mr. Max Milien, Special Agent United States Secret Service. “Even though they were positioned behind the scenes JTF-HD was instrumental in ensuring APEC’s success,” he added.

APEC, established in 1989 in response to growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies and the advent of regional economic blocs (such as in Europe), has become a forum for 21 Pacific Rim countries seeking to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

“I enjoyed being part of APEC because we were making history,” said Army Col. Curtis King, Defense Coordinating Officer (DCO). “It was the first National Special Security Event (NSSE) in the state and it was the first time for APEC to be in Hawaii. We had the world media covering the event,” King said.

JTF-HD’s success in coordinating the DoD portion of APEC was in large part due to the effective interaction and cooperation with their interagency partners during the event. Those partners included, among others, the Honolulu Police Department (HPD), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Honolulu Mayor’s Office, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Department of State (DSS), and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

   
(Left) US President Barack Obama (left) greets Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard (right) during the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit (APEC). Fort Shafter-based coordinating unit Joint Task Force Homeland Defense (JTF-HD) served as the Department of Defense (DOD) executive agent for the event. (Official DSS photo) (Center) Foreign and finance ministers and other officials pose with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, center left, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, center right, for an official photo during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, Nov 11, 2011. Fort Shafter-based coordinating unit Joint Task Force Homeland Defense (JTF-HD) served as the Department of Defense (DOD) executive agent for the event. (Official DSS photo) (Right) President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama disembark Air Force One as they arrive at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, Hawaii, Friday, Nov. 11, 2011. President and Mrs. Obama hosted the 2011 APEC summit while the Fort Shafter-based coordinating unit Joint Task Force Homeland Defense (JTF-HD) served as the Department of Defense (DOD) executive agent for the event. (Photo courtesy AP)

“I was extremely impressed with what JTF-HD brought to the table,” said HPD Officer Andy Lum. “They understood the nature and the impact of the event, they were well-trained and ready, and they carried out their mission without a hitch,” Lum added.

APEC works to raise living standards, raise education levels, reduce tariffs and other trade barriers across the Asia-Pacific region, facilitate business interactions between member nations, and foster a sense of community and appreciation of shared interests between countries in the region. The forum’s ultimate goal, according to U.S. President Barack Obama, is a “seamless regional economy.”

“This experience was exceptionally rewarding and was a valuable mission,” said Ms. Marie Kennedy, Geospatial Intelligence and Common Operational Picture Manager for Joint Task Force (JTF) Kupa’a, a special task force stood up by Cmdr. U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) and comprised of State National Guard and Federal (Reserve and Active) forces designed to assist in security and coordination of the NSSE. “Real missions such as the NSSE are ‘the’ reason we exist and do the work we do,” said Kennedy.

JTF-HD and JTF-Kupa’a teamed up to coordinate all DOD assets and agencies in the event they were needed or required. Preparing for the event was a long and tedious affair that took many months of planning and meeting between numerous agencies and partners.

“It was very challenging and required many months of planning and preparation leading up to the event,” said Ms. Michelle Salvador, JTF-HD Intelligence Operations/ Liaison/ Security Manager. “We were able to get to know our intelligence partners and work with them in a real-world event such as APEC. The magnitude of APEC as an NSSE event is compared to the Presidential inauguration,” said Salvador.

During the event the 21 leaders agreed to take steps to ensure building the seamless regional economy in order to generate growth and create jobs. President Obama said publicly, “The United States wants to send a clear message: We are a Pacific nation and we are deeply committed to shaping the future security and prosperity of the Trans-Pacific region.”

   
(Left) President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are welcomed by Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, center, and Rep. Mazie Hirono, left, as they disembark Air Force One upon arrival at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, Hawaii, Friday, Nov. 11, 2011. President and Mrs. Obama hosted the 2011 APEC summit while the Fort Shafter-based coordinating unit Joint Task Force Homeland Defense (JTF-HD) served as the Department of Defense (DOD) executive agent for the event. (Photo courtesy AP) (Center) Secretary Clinton meets with Leader's Representative of Chinese Taipai Dr. Lien Chan on the sidelines during the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Nov. 12, 2011. Fort Shafter-based coordinating unit Joint Task Force Homeland Defense (JTF-HD) served as the Department of Defense (DOD) executive agent for the event. (Official U.S. State Department photo) (Right) World leaders arrive at the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Honolulu, Hawaii in Nov., 2011. Fort Shafter-based coordinating unit Joint Task Force Homeland Defense (JTF-HD) 7:29 PM 4/16/2012served as the Department of Defense (DOD) executive agent for the event. (Official U.S. State Department photo)

“Another positive about APEC is that it strengthened professional relationships in our intelligence/interagency community and partnerships,” said Kennedy. “We demonstrated that we work well together in spite of interoperable communications challenges,” Kennedy added.

“Our role was to link the lead federal agency representatives to the appropriate DOD agency for support,” said King. “We liaisoned with state, local and other federal agencies prior to and during the event and coordinated requirements with the various local, state and federal emergency operations centers,” King added.

JTF-HD and JTF-Kupa’a was also prepared to validate action requests and accept mission assignments (MAs) from the federal coordinating officer when required. In addition, they assisted with the receiving, staging, onward movement, and integration (RSOI) of units/personnel staffing the Defense Coordinating Element (DCE).

“We were also prepared to determine the best military resources to meet mission assignment requirements for the combatant commander and provide the links to base support installations for all facility support,” said King.

“True inspiration comes when leaders motivate their teams to want to solve problems and improve performance,” said Kennedy. “We really lucked out on this with the senior leadership at JTF-HD/Kupa'a during this event. They were here to support us and enable us to do the best job possible during this highly visible global event.”

Headquartered at Fort Shafer, Hawaii, JTF-HD maintains situational awareness of all domains within the JTF-HD Joint Operations Area; executes mission command of assigned forces in the land domain to conduct Homeland Defense operations to deter and defeat threats to critical infrastructure and key resources and when requested/validated, conducts Civil Support operations in response to all hazards to mitigate human suffering and reduce infrastructure damage.

   
(Left) Mr. Craig Riley, Joint Task Force Homeland Defense (JTF-HD) Knowledge Manager, prepares for his role during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2011 forum held on the island of Oahu in November. The Fort Shafter-based coordinating unit served as the Department of Defense (DOD) executive agent during the National Special Security Event (NSSE). (Official DOD photo by Darrell Ames). (Right) Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2011 (Right) Mr. Paul Cruz, Joint Task Force Homeland Defense (JTF-HD) Operations Manager, analyzes data in preparation for his role during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2011 forum held on the island of Oahu in November. The Fort Shafter-based coordinating unit served as the Department of Defense (DOD) executive agent during the National Special Security Event (NSSE). (Official DOD photo by Darrell Ames).