Sasebo Emergency Operations Center primed for crises
November 19, 2004
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — The $400,000 Emergency Operations Center recently completed here is similar to what many might imagine as a “war room,” filled with high-level officials busily processing information as it pours in, enabling commanders to make quick, informed decisions.
“That’s pretty much what it is,” said Chief Petty Officer Gary Boldes, Sasebo’s Port Operations, Logistics Division officer and leading petty officer.
Imagine a long conference table with secure networked computer stations in front of each seat. At one end is the overall commander’s station. Large plasma screens around the room display common information; think “Dr. Strangelove” or a “West Wing” episode dealing with a world military crisis.
“The EOC is a place where you can get all your key players together during a contingency, which could be bad weather, an earthquake, typhoon, whatever … some sort of threat to the base,” Boldes said Wednesday.
“It’s just for emergencies, and a place where all the players are together and the decision-making is done in one room. You gather information from various sources, so you’ll have a representative in the EOC from the fire department, from security and most other departments.
“They’ll have contact with their players, the commanders on scene. So, information is pushed to this central location and we’re better able to coordinate information because everybody is there,” Boldes said.
Citing security concerns, Boldes said the EOC site won’t be disseminated widely but it’s on the Hirase Peninsula along the Juliet Basin waterfront.
“I can’t advise making the general public aware of the specific EOC location,” he said. “That would make it a target. We’re actually part of a front line here, even though some people don’t see it that way.”
Along the same line, photos inside the EOC are prohibited, Boldes added.
But the new center improves the flow of information throughout the base, he said, and to Commander U.S. Naval Forces Japan and U.S. Forces Japan.
“We have upgraded the computer capabilities by adding work stations. This allows those in EOC to work simultaneously,” Boldes said.
“We also upgraded to the plasma screen information displays for an easier flow within the EOC, as well as video teleconferencing capabilities in the same building.”
Officials said the EOC, begun in late September and completed Oct. 31, was funded by force-protection dollars, meaning the base’s funds weren’t used for the project.