By Staff Sgt. Robert Cloys
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Infrastructure for the 3rd and 4th Space Operations Squadrons integrated operations environment at Schriever Air Force Base is complete and combined operation is slated to begin there Jan. 15.
“The start of satellite command and control operations in the integrated ops environment this week is the culmination of countless hours of work by hundreds of government and industry people,” said Col. James Ross, 50th Space Wing commander. “This new facility will allow 3 SOPS and 4 SOPS professionals to more effectively and efficiently deliver decisive communication effects on a global scale.”
The IOE is a 50th Space Wing initiative to integrate the operations of Department of Defense military satellite communications systems and architectures into a single operations floor.
“This is designed to strengthen the effectiveness of military satellite communication operations and enhance operational efficiencies and situational awareness while creating a truly integrated MILSATCOM operations center,” said Capt. Gail Smicklas, 3 SOPS IOE project officer.
The demand for efficiency is increasing as the difficulties within the operational environment continue to grow. This is why a highly effective work environment is critical.
“Without question, the geosynchronous space environment has become increasingly congested,” said Lt. Col. Chadwick Igl, 3 SOPS commander. “The warfighters demand for reliable, space borne communications becomes even more critical as the nation prepares for a potentially contested environment. IOE realizes this vision of a combined MILSATCOM operations center where the two premier SATCOM squadrons at the 50th Space Wing will have unprecedented situational awareness to recognize, react and respond to potential hostile actions and satellite anomalies. We hope to expand the synergies realized to our mission partners when they join us in the IOE and provide an even greater opportunity to enhance the combat effects provided by the 50th Space Wing to our U.S. and allied partners.”
The IOE concept has been in development for a decade, but the current configuration was solidified in 2005. The original concept was to have one massive operations center that was two stories tall and could facilitate all satellite operations squadrons. Eventually leadership decided that 3 and 4 SOPS were best suited for the combined environment.
“During 2012, 3 and 4 SOPS tested the IOE concept by performing co-located operations,” said Capt. Micah Dodds, 4 SOPS operations flight commander. “Building on the success of that experience, we are looking forward to moving into the new operations center.”
The IOE aims at preparing the U.S. to successfully operate far into the future, in a spectrum of environments, including peacetime, degraded operations and full hostilities in space.
“We are very excited to enter the next phase of making MILSATCOM operations more effective and efficient,” said Lt. Col. Scott Trinrud, 4 SOPS commander.
The layout of the ops floor is designed to encourage inter-squadron communication and situational awareness to respond to satellite anomalies, potential attacks or interference.
“What started with a vision many years ago by my forward thinking predecessors Lt. Gen. John Hyten, Brig. Gen. Teresa Djuric, Brig. Gen. Cary Chun and Col. Wayne Monteith is now becoming a reality. We should be proud to continue the 50 SW tradition of innovation and operations excellence,” said Ross.