By Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely | 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The 4th Space Operations Squadron is transitioning shift manning to increase unit efficiency.
The unit will transfer terminal operator duties to the Advanced Extremely High Frequency Mission Control Sub-system operator. The TO is a position on the space crew that operates the terminal linking the satellite to the AEHF command and control system located on the operations floor
“These operators ensure a successful connection in order to communicate with our 10 protected [military satellite communications] assets,” said Capt. Dustin Soriano, 4th SOPS communications flight commander. “ASMCS is the ground segment system used for command and control and over-the-air rekey requests that service more than 1,900 strategic and tactical users. From there, the command and control gets fed through the terminal to the satellite.”
Steve Baize, 4th SOPS payload management director, said the unit uses two different satellite communications terminals to connect and communicate with the MILSTAR and AEHF satellites. The terminals are the family of advanced beyond line of sight terminal and the AEHF calibrations facility interim command and control terminal.
“The ASMCS operators being trained to operate both terminals will save manpower for the space mission crew, consolidate bodies and decrease our footprint on the operations floor, while optimizing manpower utilization throughout the squadron,” he said.
The 4th SOPS space mission force rotation currently has nine ASMCS operators. Prior to the next rotation, the on-coming AMSCS operators will receive academic and TO hands-on training to eliminate the need for a dedicated TO position.
“Operating the SATCOM terminals on the 4 SOPS operations floor is a skill that may never be performed by the communications personnel again in their careers,” Baize said. “The transfer of the TO duties allows them to become better technicians.”
The terminals enable the armed forces to execute nuclear command and control missions, provide secured communications with satellites, execute missions supporting the president and secretary of defense, and support missions for the military to perform tactical operations.
“By optimizing the manpower of the space crew, we’re able to continue to evolve our space superiority and utilize our space technicians in more efficient ways,” Soriano said. “This process will be seamless and transparent to the users.”
The 4th SOPS stays mission ready 24/7 by operating the Air Force’s protected and wideband MILSATCOM systems, providing warfighters global, secure, survivable strategic and tactical communication during peacetime and throughout the full spectrum of conflict.