By Staff Sgt. Stacy Foster
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
and Capt. Aaron Gauthier
Space Innovation and Development Center
The 50th Space Wing’s emblem contains the phrase “Master of Space”. It’s difficult to make a case against that claim as the wing is responsible for programs such as GPS, Milstar, the Air Force Satellite Control Network, and much more.
During a visit to Schriever Oct. 26, the commander of Air Force Space Command, Gen. C. Robert Kehler, called on the wing to apply its expertise to not only the future of space, but also to the future of a relatively new arena: cyberspace.
The common understanding of cyberspace is the online world of computer networks. General Kehler sees it as much more.
“There is a natural fit between space and cyberspace,” said General Kehler. “The two overlap and we must apply the lessons we have learned from space to the cyberspace domain.”
During a commander’s call, General Kehler shared his vision for the future of space and cyberspace and illustrated how important the wing’s role is in current operations.
“The 50th Space Wing is in the heart of the fight, and the Joint warfighter depends on you to be flawless in your operations,” General Kehler said.
As the general toured the installation, he received updates on current and future missions and operations of various units, as well as how each Airman on each crew got their start in space operations.
To see how well the base leadership is taking care of their families, he received a military construction-project briefing during a stop in the new base housing area. For the first time in its existence, families are living on Schriever, and plans are underway to expand existing support functions and construct several new support facilities.
General Kehler agreed that families need to be supported to the fullest extent possible, and encouraged base leadership to look down the road and practice due diligence when planning expansions and future construction projects.
After the commander’s call, General Kehler visited the 3rd Space Operations Squadron, where he received an operations update from Lt. Col. Jean Eisenhut, 3 SOPS commander.
Colonel Eisenhut explained how the squadron’s Wideband Global Satellite Communications enables more robust and flexible execution of command and control, communications computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance as well as battle management and combat support information functions. Throughout the next few years, the number of WGS satellites will increase to six.
General Kehler then made his way to the 4th Space Operations Squadron, where Lt. Col. Douglas Scheiss, 4 SOPS commander, briefed him on the Milstar mission. The multi-satellite constellation links command authorities to high priority U.S. forces via Milstar terminals on aircraft, ships, submarines, trucks and ground sites with encrypted voice, data, teletype or facsimile communications.
Next, Lt. Col. Eric Dorminey, 22nd Space Operations Squadron commander, welcomed General Kehler to his squadron, where he briefed the general on the current state of the Air Force Satellite Control Network, which consists of eight world-wide remote tracking stations, providing scheduling, launch support, orbital analysis, telemetry, tracking and commanding, communications, mission data dissemination and emergency recovery support for more than 140 operational Department of Defense, national agency, civil and allied spacecraft.
General Kehler then joined a group of Team Schriever members for lunch, and gained their perspective on various topics such as new uniform requirements and the physical fitness program.
The tour of the 50th Space Wing concluded with a visit to 4 SOPS’ Advanced Extremely High Frequency mobile operations pad, which houses the squadron’s new mobile Antenna Calibration Facility. These mobile assets can be deployed anywhere in the world to conduct satellite command and control across the globe.
General Kehler’s afternoon was spent with the men and women of the Space Innovation and Development Center, Air Force Space Command’s premier organization focusing on rapid innovation, integration, training, testing & experimentation. This was the general’s first opportunity to visit phase 1 of SIDC’s new 72,000 square foot, $45 million facility.
General Kehler’s visit to the SIDC began by meeting with Col. Robert Wright, Jr., SIDC commander. Colonel Wright escorted the general on a tour of the new building, including the 25th Space Range Squadron’s new Advanced Capabilities Environment laboratory. Lt. Col. Rob Ramsden, 25 SRS commander, demonstrated the closed loop test and training environment and discussed tactics, technique development and range integration efforts.
After the tour, General Kehler was updated on Air Force TENCAP projects, the future construct of the SIDC and a took a quick look at the planning for the Schriever 10 Wargame. Scheiever 10 focuses specifically on space and cyber issues and the integration of them. In the introduction of the latest High Frontier Journal, General Kehler wrote “Over the past 10 years, the Schriever Wargame series has influenced space operations not only within the Air Force, but in joint and coalition space operations as well.” The Schriever 10 Wargame will be no less important.
The final event of General Kehler’s visit was a commander’s call with a question and answer session with SIDC personnel. The general focused many of his opening remarks on the growing importance of cyber security as well as a continued emphasis on the importance of the Wingman concept. The general fielded several questions from the audience where he was able to provide 4-star insight on the Air Reserve component’s role in executing space and cyber missions as well as his thoughts on where space professionals will fit in the cyber mission and others.
Throughout the visit, General Kehler was presented with the best the base had to offer. Judging by the general’s broad smile as he shook the hands of personnel throughout the day, he left with a sense of pride and accomplishment in what Team Schriever brings to the fight.