By 2nd Lt. Darren Domingo
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
The 2nd Space Operations Squadron and family members huddled together in the Tierra Vista Community Center here to discuss Air Force Space Command’s newest force-posturing directive, Space Mission Force, Friday, Oct. 2, 2015.
“The SMF is a paradigm shift for how we do space operations based on the fact that space is becoming a very difficult environment to operate in,” said Lt. Col. Todd Benson, 2 SOPS commander. “We’ve got potential for threats, kinds that can impact how we can do our mission. Space is also becoming an extremely congested area and we want to be able to fight in that environment.”
Capt. Moses George, 2 SOPS, explained additional goals of the SMF program.
“Another goal of SMF is to present forces to the combatant commanders in a unified fashion,” he said. “Furthermore, SMF is designed to advance the knowledge, and skills needed, of our space warfighters to truly be ready for this contested environment.”
SMF is posturing forces to be able to accomplish all of those different objectives. A major adjustment to operations will be a restructuring of crew manning in each of the space operations units.
“We’re changing our crew construct to a space mission task force that will consist of two groups of four crews, one group going on a four-month dedicated crew-shift,” said George. “This frees up time for the rest of the folks to be in a dwell-cycle and advance the knowledge and skills needed for our space warfighters to mitigate threats and maintain space superiority.”
These advancement opportunities include doing exercises, taking online courses as well as some organic courses being developed here at the 50th Space Wing.
“We have to change our mindset from one of operations to one of a warfighter mindset and to do that we have to go beyond the basics of satellite operations,” said Benson. “We have to advance our skillset, and that requires a continuous training effort.”
Training will also allow Airmen to have greater responsibilities within the organization.
“One of our main goals of training is to push a lot of the decision making and authorities down to the lowest level and it’s great to see young Airmen rise to the occasion,” said Benson. “That’s the exciting part to be able to witness as a commander.”
The gathering included all 2 SOPS crews, their families, support personnel, representatives from the mental health clinic, the family life counselor, the chaplains and the key spouses.
George explained that while the SMF restructuring is crucial for meeting military objectives, keeping connection with families is a crucial facet of the transition.
“Colonel Benson really saw the need for us to fight as a family,” he said. “We have created a lot of touch points for our families to be integrated even as we’re changing our crew structure and going to 12 hour shifts.”
In order to integrate families, 2 SOPS handed out connection cards at the kickoff ceremony that contained useful phone numbers, special upcoming squadron events and holiday dinners planned on the operations floor.
The 50 SW was chosen by AFSPC to be the first wing to implement SMF.
“It’s exciting to be a part of a path-finding effort because you really get to help shape the future,” said Benson.