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NEWS | Dec. 15, 2022

I Corps distributed command and control framework flourishes in Indo-Pacific

By Spc. Richard Carlisi I Corps

CAMP ASAKA, Japan – The implementation of a nodal mission command construct spanning the Indo-Pacific has flourished since its inception by America’s First Corps in 2021. In a predominately maritime region where traditionally large, centralized command and control is less suitable, the U.S. Army’s operational headquarters in the region has developed and refined a nodal approach to its mission of defending peace and security in the region.

“Distribution at the Corps level is a necessary condition for operations in the Indo-Pacific,” said Lt. Gen. Xavier Brunson, commanding general of America’s First Corps. “The Corps is not dispersed but deliberately placed in space and time, task-organized and purpose-built by mission and available resources.”

Committed to working with its allies and partners to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific, America’s First Corps’ concept of a distributed command and control framework involves splitting the Corps into multiple smaller nodes in different locations. Exercises such as Yama Sakura in Japan and Cobra Gold in Thailand have proven the Corps is agile and able to adapt to a variety of different operations, trialing different concepts and getting to the point where tailorable packages can be sent to subordinate units within an operation.

“Nodal distribution requires thinking very differently given the Indo-Pacific’s geography and geometry,” said Brunson. “Take Indonesia, for example, which includes over 17,000 islands that if you were to overlay them onto a map of the United States would stretch from Los Angeles out to 500 miles off the eastern seaboard.”

Several months after its implementation, a four-Stryker vehicle package and a robust communications capability flew via two C-17 Globemaster III aircraft from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam,.. After performing mission command activities in flight, the small Corps node embarked aboard the United States Naval Ship City of Bismarck to prove an unprecedented Army Corps capability – executing mission command afloat.

“The traditional Corps structure simply doesn’t work in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Maj. Christopher Bartok, G-6 operations chief for America’s First Corps. “We have to be inherently joint and able to work with DOD, multinational and civilian partners by accessing the services we need to effectively command and control an operation over a vast area.”

Yama Sakura 83 and Cobra Gold demonstrated First Corps’ distributed command and control framework is capable of expanding outward, moving nodes west of the International Date Line from its headquarters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

“America’s First Corps must operate differently in this region,” said Brunson. “Distribution makes the Corps agile, resilient, scalable and most importantly – survivable.”