by Staff Sgt. Robert Shoaf
614th Air and Space Operations Center Detachment 1
NAVAL SUPPORT FACILITY DAHLGREN, Va. — Part of the 20th Space Control Squadron Detachment 1 mission realigned April 30 when the alternate space control center activated as the Distributed Space Command and Control – Dahlgren.
DSC2 – Dahlgren is now assigned to the 614th Air and Space Operations Center Detachment 1, at Vandenberg AFB, Calif.
The 20th SPCS is one of the 21st Space Wing’s geographically separated units and conducts precise and disciplined missile warning, missile defense and space control operations around the globe.
“The 21st Space Wing is responsible for tactical operations of the Air Force’s space surveillance sensors around the world,” said Lt. Col. Tyler Evans, 21st Operations Group deputy commander. “Moving DSC2 – Dahlgren over to the 614th Air and Space Operations Center streamlines the organization for United States Strategic Command’s Joint Forces Component Commander for Space.”
This realignment to an operational level agency will better allow DSC2 – Dahlgren to task and guide the global Space Surveillance Network. According to Air Force Space Command officials, this move puts DSC2 – Dahlgren into the mainstream for space situational awareness, where it will be better able to leverage its talent.
DSC2 – Dahlgren is responsible for tasking sensors on high-priority satellites, processing space events, including re-entries, de-orbits and maneuvers, and working directly with NASA to ensure the safety of the International Space Station and space shuttle crews.
The 20th SPCS Det. 1 mission has included operating the AN/FPS-133 Space Surveillance Fence and DSC2 – Dahlgren. The Space Surveillance Fence was brought online to track Sputnik and the many satellites that followed during the dawn of space exploration. Originally operated by the Navy, the Air Force took control of the Fence in October 2004. Dahlgren is responsible for processing data from the Space Fence as well as other space surveillance sensors around the world. This data is used to provide the Space Surveillance Network with up-to-date information for more efficient satellite tracking.
The 20th Space Control Squadron, located at Eglin AFB, continues to operate both the AN/FPS-85 Phased Array Space Surveillance Radar and the AN/FPS-133 Air Force Space Surveillance Fence, consisting of nine radar transmitter and receiver sites in eight states. Currently, the 20th SPCS Det. 1 now provides mission and facility support to DSC2- Dahlgren, as an operational level entity assigned to the Joint Space Operations Center.
According to Col. Chris Moss, 614th AOC commander and JSpOC director, having both units serve as one cohesive entity in support of the JSpOC allows for a sharing of tasks which frees resources and allows the unit’s staff to concentrate on other areas of concern.
“Having the unit at Dahlgren under the 614th allows us to more effectively use its resources, both manpower and money, to attain the space situational awareness needed to support combatant commanders around the globe,” Colonel Moss said. This re-designation as DSC2 – Dahlgren gives the unit a prime opportunity to prove what its military and civilian personnel are able to do, and have been doing for the last 50 years.
Dahlgren will continue to operate the command and control mission from the same location. The unit’s new commander, Maj. Jason D’Alessio, previously served as the operations officer for 20th SPCS Det. 1.
“I couldn’t be more proud of taking command of this unit knowing the dedication and talent that resides here,” said Major D’Alessio. “This is our time to step up and show the space community that we are no longer an alternate or backup entity, but at the forefront of ensuring space superiority.”