Combined Endeavor

Introduction: U.S. European Command (EUCOM) uses APAN to plan and execute exercise Combined Endeavor

The U.S. European Command (EUCOM) annually sponsors the exercise Combined Endeavor (CE), the largest command, control, communications and computer (C4) interoperability event in the world. Each year approximately 1,400 communications professionals from more than 40 NATO nations, Partnership for Peace (PFP) countries, and other strategic security partners gather at multiple locations in Europe to conduct a series of operationally-focused interoperability tests.

Challenges: Maintaining communication and collaboration with geographically dispersed participants before, during, and after onsite planning conferences is essential to planning the Combined Endeavor exercise.

The Combined Endeavor exercise control group needs to be able to keep shared information relevant, up-to-date, and easy to find in a central location in order for planners to remain productive between planning events.  The large numbers of participating planners, from many different locations, makes maintaining efficiency a challenge.

Solutions: APAN enables Combined Endeavor planners to keep participants consistently engaged, organized, and up-to-date using a variety of information management tools.

Highly customized tabs and document libraries enable participants to efficiently organize files with custom metadata tags. 

Using predefined metatags and a standard file naming convention, the Combined Endeavor Community created customized levels of information organization. These tags, based on creators, consumers, file types, and how the information is used, increase ease and speed of finding relevant content. By organizing content with tags, the wealth of resources created and used by the planners remains equally accessible at the in-person conferences and between events.

The Combined Endeavor Community also uses custom lists for collecting and tracking user created content. Participants use forms that populate lists for personal contact information, tracking and assigning tasks, and collecting feedback. Also, descriptions of equipment brought into the exercise from various sources are tracked on custom lists to ensure all participants are aware of who owns which pieces of equipment and what their respective capabilities are.

Results: Combined Endeavor planners use their APAN community to provide a robust, customizable, easily accessible website on which all partner nations can plan and collaborate during, and between, events. Predefined information management tools ensure members have quick access to resources they need. The continuity and continuous collaboration created on the APAN community increases productivity for the entire dispersed planning team.