By Steve Brady
21st Space Wing Public Affairs Office
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The 16th Space Control Squadron and its Reserve Associate Unit, the 380th SPCS, got a much-needed new home June 28, as the squadrons held a ribbon cutting to open building 2027.
Located past the Exchange and Commissary complex, building 2027 is a decided step up from their old home in hangar 104 and building 504.
The new space control facility is about 47,000 square feet and allows the squadrons to operate under the same roof as opposed to being housed in separate buildings.
“It was inconvenient to work from two different buildings because you had command staff and operations in building 504, and a lot of the admin work was done in the hangar (104), so coordinating meetings was inconvenient,” said Capt. Jenifer Farkas, a 16th SPCS crew commander.
When the squadrons were activated in 2007, there were a grand total of eight personnel assigned, but the squadrons, and their missions, have grown. The old building was also a lot smaller with not nearly enough work stations. The new building has plenty of room, windows as opposed to the hangar’s all-metal construction, an exercise area for the crews which often work shifts, and is well insulated against the elements.
The squadron not only has a new building, but a new commander as well. Lt. Col. Mark Guerber took command of the 16th SPCS June 13.
“This amazing facility, and (the 76th SPCS building) are both proof of the wing’s goal to make Peterson the best place to work, live and visit,” Guerber said. “The operations and training floors provide the essential space we just don’t have in (building) 504, and once we get our operating location moved here we’ll be doing well,” he said.
The 16th SPCS is Air Force Space Command’s first defensive counterspace unit and employs the Rapid Attack, Identification, Detection, and Reporting System. The facility at Peterson, along with various suites of transportable antennas deployed around the world, will be able to detect, characterize, geolocate and report sources of radio frequency interference on U.S. military and commercial satellites in direct support of combatant commanders. If the operators pick up any interference, they characterize the problem, then geolocate, or pinpoint the location on the Earth, where the interference is coming from. That allows them to tell the user of that signal to go to a different frequency or satellite transponder. In the case of something hostile, the squadron can provide decision makers with information as to where the hostile action is coming from.
Getting the space warriors moved into the building emphasizes the importance of the new mission area.
“We have set the foundation to do what is absolutely required for our nation, and that is for space, and space control specifically, to be a critical component in any major fight we have in the future,” said Col. Chris Crawford, 21st Space Wing commander. “If space control is not a capable entity able to deliver on days, if not hours’ notice, we could lose our next big fight as a nation. That’s how the world has changed,” Crawford said.
“The commitment that Air Force Space Command and the United States Air Force has made to that mission area is behind me,” Crawford said, referring to the new building. “We recognize as an Air Force this is a critical, absolutely essential capability for our nation’s ability to defend itself in a future fight.
“So this is not just a building ribbon cutting,” he said. “This is a statement of intent for our future commitment that space is now the war fighter.”