PORT HUENEME, Calif. (NNS) — Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group (EODGRU) 1 enhanced its ability to operate within the Navy Expeditionary Combat Force (NECF), fleet and Joint Forces by completing a Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) Integrated Exercise (NIEX) at Naval Base Ventura County-Port Hueneme, Calif., Nov. 13.
The one-week exercise simulated EODGRU-1 commanding a deployed task unit designed to support NECF and Joint Forces conducting security, supply and combat operations.
“EODGRU-1 is always focused on capability development, which includes war-gaming and assessment. Participating in a NIEX is an example of how we accomplish a Navy EOD strategic objective while building towards our vision of a nation undeterred by explosive threats,” said Capt. Oscar Rojas, EODGRU-1’s commodore.
NIEX 21-1 tested the staff’s ability to command and control a distributed force in an austere, expeditionary environment, while also challenging them to analyze and solve evolving problem sets under tight time constraints.
“Navy EOD plays a critical role within the NECF by eliminating explosive threats so the fleet and nation can win whenever, wherever and however it chooses,” said Rojas, who emphasized that the NECF is greater than the sum of its parts. “NIEX 21-1 made us prove our ability to also integrate and command components of Navy EOD, Mobile Diving and Salvage, and the Naval Construction and Maritime Expeditionary Security Forces—a capability that is essential to achieving superiority in a contested maritime environment.”
A NIEX is designed to ensure NECC major commands, such as EODGRU-1, can integrate with the NECF to support theater commanders in executing the National Defense Strategy. It also serves as the culminating event before a numbered fleet can certify them for major combat operations, which includes deploying as a task force staff. NIEXes are assessed by Expeditionary Warfare Development Center (EXWDC), who train the NECF to plan and execute distributed operations to increase lethality and survivability.
“EXWDC’s role was to strain EODGRU-1’s capabilities so they can maximize their ability to train subordinate forces to deploy,” said Gregory Gates, a member of NECC’s assessments and certification department. “We wanted to see them properly communicate within their staff, and to subordinate commands and higher headquarters to solve problems and complete mission taskings.”
“To accomplish this, they needed to come together as a staff and focus on clear, secure, build and protect,” said Gates, referring to the NECF’s specialized skills that enable distributed maritime operations by maintaining open and secure logistic routes, providing the capability to construct and repair critical infrastructure, and the ability to defend critical assets.
Operating from Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., EODGRU-1 oversees the manning training and equipping of EOD Mobile Units 1, 3, 5 and 11; Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1; EOD Expeditionary Support Unit 1; and EOD Training and Evaluation Unit 1. EODGRU-1 is also capable of deploying as a battalion level staff to command task forces in theater.