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"JOC Watch" relocates for the first time in Washington National Guard history

A disaster knows no boundaries and has the potential to strike even our disaster response centers. A recent exercise tested the Washington National Guard’s ability to conduct continuous operations despite its environment. “Jumping the JOC” was a unique operation that moved the 24-hour operations from Camp Murray to the Boeing Field Armory in Tukwila.

“We wanted to demonstrate that if Camp Murray operations went down our folks can pick up and continue working from a different location,” said Col. Kevin McMahan, director of operations, Joint Force Headquarters.

Since 2001 the Washington National Guard Joint Operations Center Watch has provided around the clock support to the citizens of Washington and the soldiers and airmen of the Guard.

However those operations have always happened in Building 17 on Camp Murray.

“This is the first time ever this has happened in the history of the Washington National Guard,” said Lt. Col. Tammy Brathovde, deputy director of operations for Joint Forces Headquarters. “We really are making history here.”

Command Sgt Maj. Brian Rikstad has been working as part of the “JOC Watch” since 2006 and agrees this is history for the organization.

“We have been monitoring situations around the state, country and world from Camp Murray for a long time,” said Rikstad. “I closed and locked the door today to secure the building and the watch continued.”

Operations at Boeing Field took place for only two days, however it was considered as a success.

“We had only joint staff and full time JOC floor personnel conducting their jobs off site and we didn’t miss a beat,” said Brathovde. “So that is what I would call success.”