The CP – Command Post

Not for the weak at heart!!!!.  Working in a command post on an active detail can be nerve-wracking for a specialist.  The command post is the brains of a detail.  It manages all of the administrative duties, the comms, coordination with movements, active knowledge of where all the principals are at every moment of the detail, vehicle management, venue and hotel keys, coordination of changeover of shifts and other duties assigned by the detail leader or assistant detail leader. 

The CP is also, in many cases, is the place where specialists go to hide and get off the grid. eat (if allowed) and get the passdown information regarding operations before they start their shift.  I personally don’t like specialists meandering in the CP after they are on the shift unless they are getting something that is operationally pertinent.  An active CP can be like working in an airport tower.  Multiple movements being managed by a CP operator is very stressful.  The main phone line is constantly ringing from the close-in shift as well as the client.  Often times a client rep will call the CP to ascertain the location of the principal because specialists on the shift are not answering their cell phones.  The CP can run as the middle man to lessen the interruptions while working.

In our CP’s we like to have a white board that manages where the principal is, where he is going and POC information for each location.  The CP specialist maintains the same knowledge as the detail leader and can pick up the slack where needed.  There are times when you need a location researched or looked up because it eill be an off the record movement and you can delegate that research to the CP specialist.

On a long detail shift changes are dicey.  If you are out on a movement and the next relief shows up at the CP to report to work, a decision has to be made whether they hold there or get to your location to make the change.  That’s a detail leader decision that has to be made.  Coniderations have to be made to make sure that when the next shift arrives the switch over can be done without being noticed.  Transportation has to be coordinated to bring the oncoming shift in as well as taking the specialist getting off back to the CP.  I have conducted change overs on arrivals to a new location.  I had the oncoming shift posted for the next arrival and as we arrived they assume the arrival.  I let the client know in the vehicle that the new shift will take over on arrival.  I walk the principal in and hand him/her over at the earliect safe location, which I mentally prepare before I get there.  I brief the oncoming detail leader and hand the principal over.  Me and my shift head back, turn in radios and have a hotwash.

Command posts encompass a 12 hour shift on my details.  It’s easier to manage the pertinent information of an active detail between 2 people than 3 people on 8 hour shifts.  The night CP specialist is not as easy as one would assume.  Although principals sleep, we have had many wake up and want to go places that are not scheduled.  The CP goes from dormant to devastation if you are not experienced. 

We have often thought of having a command post operations course because you would not believe how many specialists out there that are working close-in that have not experienced the rigors of a CP.

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