By Scott Prater
Unbeknownst to many at Schriever, there is an organization on base that trains and educates American warfighters on space effects and capabilities.
The Distributed Mission Operations Center for Space is located inside the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center, but it has worldwide reach on a daily basis.
Officially, the unit conducts advanced training, participates in exercises and supports mission rehearsal events Air Force-wide.
“We also develop and integrate new modeling, simulation and network capabilities,” said Larry Overmyer, DMOC-S director. “We are the only unit that provides space modeling simulation to the warfighter.”
Reggie Spivey, DMOC-S deputy operations lead, describes the facility’s mission in simpler terms.
“Think of Xbox Live,” he said. “That system allows game players to compete along with other players around the world, where everyone can see the battle field. In essence, DMOC-S provides that same type of scenario for participants in Air Force and combatant command exercises.”
Most people have heard of Red Flag and Blue Flag exercises, where units come together at a central location and conduct battlefield operations. The DMOC-S provides those type of exercises to be conducted virtually, where all players can participate from their home location.
The unit contains exercise planners, engineers and space operators as well as intelligence, communications and cyber subject-matter experts. Members use sophisticated computing and communications equipment to create simulated environments as well as develop real and simulated data for a multitude of players during an exercise.
With 31 members, comprised of active duty, reservists, contractors and government civilians, DMOC-S provides support to units from tactical squadrons up to and including combatant commands such as U.S. Strategic Command, U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Pacific Command.
“A virtual flag does what a Red Flag does, except it’s all virtual,” said Jay Littleton, DMOC-S operations lead. “The model is the same. Role players brief in the morning, then they have a three-hour execution period, then they debrief. For the crews, they do everything except step onto an aircraft. The Airborne Warning and Control System guys, an F-16 unit out of Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and a unit out of the 55th Wing at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., can all participate simultaneously,” he said. “And we can distribute information to all participants simultaneously.”
The DMOC-S facility not only helps plan these exercises, it executes them from the space perspective, while also providing simulated space data to participants. The DMOC-S facility also helps units around the world test assets and programs.
“Let’s say there is a new capability on an aircraft,” Littleton said. “We’ll get a request from a customer that tells us they want to test if a particular airplane can fly from point A to point B while receiving threats to the aircraft. They want to test the new capability, but they need simulated data to do so. Once we receive their script, we can build a scenario and provide the simulated data they need to validate their new capability.”
Though located at the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center here, the DMOC-S unit is an operating location for the 705th Combat Training Squadron at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., a squadron under the purview of the 505th Command and Control Wing at Hurlburt Air Force Base, Fla.
It’s been in existence, though under the radar, at Schriever since 2004 and the DMOC-S team expects it to be in high demand in the coming years.
“In this time of constrained budgets, it becomes much more economical to the Air Force for us to provide a realistic warfighting capability in a simulated environment,” Littleton said. “This training is much cheaper. The crews aren’t deploying, their fighting from their home station.”