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HR management tool deployed to operations IRINI and ATALANTA

 EDA’s so-called ‘J1 Functional Area Service’ (J1FAS), a specialist software tool aimed at facilitating and supporting the management of human resources (HR) in national and international military missions, has recently been deployed to two additional EU CSDP operations:  the European Union Naval Force Mediterranean Operation IRINI (EUNAVFOR MED IRINI) which aims to enforce the United Nations arms embargo to Libya, and counter-piracy military operation ATALANTA at sea off the Horn of Africa.  

Over the last two weeks, EDA staff and contractors were present at the Operational Headquarters (OHQ) of both operations (Rome/Italy for IRINI and Rota/Spain for ATALANTA) to install the newly developed and certified software, deliver workshops and train the operations’ HR staff.  Previous, less developed versions had already been deployed before in other OHQ, including the Greek-led EUFOR RCA OHQ in Larissa in 2014, the Italian OHQ in Rome for EUNAVFOR MED operation SOPHIA in 2016 as well as several other exercises. To date, some 3,000 staff have been in and out-processed via J1FAS (about 50% in operations and 50% in exercises).  

J1FAS is a digital staff management tool developed at EDA with support from EU Military Staff (EUMS) and EU OHQs. It is a highly customised application that allows CSDP missions and operations (which traditionally have to deal with high staff turnover), but also exercises, to manage personnel data in a paperless and transparent yet secured way.  

The very first prototype was implemented by the EDA IT department and then extended by a contractor in 2011 to encompass a workflow management system which was then deployed to EUFOR RCA OHQ in Larissa in 2014. A second, slightly upgraded version followed in 2015 to be installed at Operation SOPHIA until December 2019. The latest and most powerful version of J1FAS, version 3, was only finalised and certified in the first half of 2021 and has now been deployed to Operation IRINI and Operation ATALANTA (July 2021). The software covers all three HR-management phases of a mission or operation, i.e. staff pre-processing, in-processing and out-processing. This is crucial as HR management is an essential - albeit not very publicised - aspect of operations, missions and exercises which need to be able to quickly and safely acquire, integrate, train and administer new staff if circumstances require it. 

© Operation IRINI

Main functionalities and benefits of J1FAS 

More precisely, the latest version of the tool now deployed to operations IRINI and ATALANTA allows for:  

  • pre-processing, in-processing and out-processing of augmentees 
  • securely storing and processing personal data  
  • creating workflows for operations/missions individual processes creating roles to work on a need-to-know basis  
  • tracking information such as training records for compliance  
  • monitoring data changes for audit trails
  • facilitating data verification and standardisation   
  • uploading of data prior to physical presence of an augmentee  
  • mirroring the organigramme/chart  
  • role mapping tailored to operations/missions requirements  
  • vacancy management
  • management of security passes. 

The benefits for the operation commanders are obvious: the system uses an open source software which does not require the payment of licence fees (meaning usage is free of charge as it is an EDA project),  mitigation of human errors, streamlined transparent processes, improved sustainability of data records, easy accessibility of data by authorised staff, more accurate analytics and statistics, etc.. 

Way ahead 

The J1FAS service is available to all CSDP missions and operations. EDA is looking forward to deploying the software to more missions or operations to help Member States foster digital harmonised remote pre-processing, in-processing and out-processing of personnel.