By Scott Prater
Air Force Space Command’s Space Training Evolution Plan team was named one of three finalists for the 2013 Chief of Staff Team Excellence award Oct. 8.
That’s good news for two Schriever space-operator training units who have contributed to the team’s performance.
The 50th Operations Support Squadron operates the Standard Space Trainer here while the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center houses the Distributed Mission Operations Center for Space facility. They partnered with other Air Force units to create the AFSPC STEP team, which was designed to develop an efficient and interchangeable space-operator training system.
Mike Newman, Space and Missile Systems Center Training and Acquisition Office chief, assembled and leads the team, which also includes the Headquarters Air Force Space Command, Air Education and Training Command, U.S. Strategic Command, the Air Force Agency for Modeling and Simulation and the Air Force Research Laboratory members.
Newman will travel to Washington D.C. along with four other AFSPC STEP team members later this year to attend the CSTEA ceremony at the Pentagon, where Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III will announce the winner.
“Considering we were up against 25 other teams from throughout the Air Force, the AFSPC STEP team feels honored to be in the company of these dedicated and talented Air Force team members,” Newman said. “Most importantly, we’re all part of the larger Air Force team and all 26 teams are making contributions that will help the warfighter in the battlefield. Space training and modeling doesn’t always get the limelight, but Air Force leadership has recognized that it’s vitally important to have this joint virtual capability to support our air, space, cyber, land and sea warfighters.”
Opened at Schriever Air Force Base in 2011 and operated by 50 OSS, the SST provides flexibility and versatility, allowing users to train on multiple space systems, such as GPS and Wideband Global SATCOM. The project is a cost effective, quality training system built on a common training architecture.
Following its resounding success at Schriever, the SST model now trains space operators at Peterson, Buckley, Vandenberg and Greeley Air Force Bases.
“The very fact the STEP team will be honored by the chief of staff is a testimony to the collaborative efforts between SMC and the 50th Space Wing,” said Lt. Col. Jay Fulmer, 50 OSS commander. “I am very proud of the professionals who worked diligently to make the SST a reality.”
Meanwhile, the DMOC-S has been providing a virtual, global and synthetic battlefield in which space forces have been training, rehearsing and exercising since 2004.
“I am extremely proud of DMOC-S and our contributions to the team and humbled by our selection as one of three finalists,” said Larry Overmyer, DMOC-S director. “We believe space training is a priority and it’s good to see that’s the case by the selection of the AFSPC STEP team as one of the finalists.”
Being a CSTEA finalist means more than just winning a trophy or receiving a pat on the back. The award has far reaching effects, through benchmarking and cross functional utilization, for tomorrow’s Air Force. The competition promotes a systematic approach for enhancing mission capability, improving operational performance and achieving sustained results while maximizing efficiency.
The AFSPC STEP team will vie for top honors along with two representatives from Air Mobility Command, the Tactical Critical Care Evacuation Team and the Theater Express Improvement Team, both located at Scott AFB, Ill.
“The fact that we’ve been considered for the CSTEA award not only highlights what we’re doing, it opens doors of visibility with senior leadership, who can begin to see our success of developing the foundation for a cost effective space training capability,” Newman said.