By Staff Sgt. Jacob Morgan
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — General William Shelton, Air Force Space Command commander, officially opened the new 561st Network Operations Squadron’s renovated operations center April 28 here. As part of the larger Air Force Information Network, the 561st NOS is one of three squadrons of its type in the Air Force, all belonging to AFSPC’s 24th Air Force.
The ribbon cutting ceremony included a full showing of the $4.5 million upgraded operations center, or “bullpen.” The bullpen, largely designed after a wall-street trading floor, is aimed at improving command and control of Air Force network communications. The addition of a 70-foot data wall enables the squadron to have direct visual contact to other squadrons with similar missions. Overall, the renovations improve the 561st NOS mission effectiveness by providing enhanced situational awareness and command and control capabilities.
In 2007, when the 561st NOS began operations, they had less than 10 military members conducting cyberspace operations. Today, the squadron has more than 560 Airmen including active-duty, Reserve, civilian and contractors who work 24-hour operations every day of the year to implement tactical countermeasures to defend the Air Force Network.
“A professional organization needs a professional environment to work in,” said Lt. Col. Roy Rockwell, 561st NOS commander. “We now have the tools required to execute General Shelton’s vision. This ceremony is a small example of how far cyberspace operations have come. We have made large steps in a short amount of time.”
The concept of the bullpen in the 561st NOS operations center streamlines decision making, removes communication barriers, and increases cyber crew commander and cyber operations controller influence of situations, added Rockwell.
The use of cyberspace to conduct missions is not exclusive to the Air Force; however, it has become an essential component of innovation in the Air Force’s warfighting advantage. The 561st NOS uses cyberspace capabilities in joint operations to defend its portion of the DOD network, which enhances the overall ability of the U.S. government to protect national security.
The ceremony concluded with a demonstration of the linkages between the 561st NOS and the 83rd Network Operations Squadron at Langley Air Force Base, Va. With the new data wall, cyberspace controllers can quickly diagnose problems and work with their sister squadron half a country away to solve problems before the users of the Air Force network realize there are issues.