From 20th Space Control Squadron
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — The 20th Space Control Squadron recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of the unit’s new sensitive compartmented information facility.
The new SCIF will allow the 20th Space Control Squadron to use top secret information to enhance tactical mission planning in support of their space situational awareness mission.
The ceremony marked the completion of a $276,000 project, managed jointly by 20th Space Control Squadron, the 96th Contracting Squadron and the Air Force Space Command Special Security Office.
The project included structural and cosmetic renovations necessary to certify the room for top secret data systems, multiple computer and communications networks, a video teleconferencing center, and the storage of similarly classified materials.
The unit operates the world’s most powerful phased array radar in support of U.S. Strategic Command’s space superiority mission. Squadron personnel collect observations on man-made objects in orbit, detecting, tracking, and identifying objects for inclusion in the Joint Space Operations Center’s satellite catalogue. This satellite catalogue is utilized by military and civilian space activities of many nations around the world to ensure safety of flight in space. The new facility enables the planners at the 20th Space Control Squadron to have the latest and most comprehensive information for ongoing space activities.
“With this new facility, we will continue down the path of innovation and change the way space situational awareness has been conducted for decades,” said Lt. Col. Mitch Katosic, 20th Space Control Squadron commander. “Opening this SCIF literally opens the door to new information, new relationships and a new way of doing business. Our adversaries continue to develop new capabilities and new methods in an attempt to take the high ground away from us but the work done here will enable a proactive approach to combating emerging threats, dynamic adversary tactics, and maintaining custody of an increasing number of space objects.”
Col. Chris Crawford, 21st Space Wing commander, members of the 20th SPCS, Walton County, Fla., community leaders and personnel from the 96th Test Wing attended the ceremony.
Crawford noted that the ability to leverage intelligence information expeditiously has been the key component to victories in battles of the past. Referencing the battle of Midway, he drew a parallel between the challenges of U.S. naval forces trying to track and defeat a superior Japanese fleet with those faced by space surveillance operators trying to maintain situational awareness about the activities of potential adversaries in space. In future conflicts “timely information can be the difference between success and failure,” Crawford said.