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After-Action-Report

Space Operations Center

Summer 2002

 

The 34TRW pilot-summer program, called the Space Operations Center (SOC), successfully completed its first three period summer execution, on3 AUG 02.After you read the AAR written by Cadet First Class Franz, the Cadet Commander of the final period, you will most certainly agree that this program is on track and ready to evolve to an even better program next summer.

 

The success of this new-start was largely due to the unselfish, many times last minute contributions of many professionals of three organizations; 34TRG, JSC-AH & the Space Warfare Center (SWC).All the addressees made significant contributions.I am sure that many others have also contributed.

 

The SOC is but a portion of Operation LAUNCH PAD (LP).Dedicated to upgrading Cadet education and training, in the areas of Space and Information Operations. LP will now transition, residual SOC capabilities, for academic year utility and provide a roadmap for the accomplishment of all other LP Objectives.

Below is a list of the SOC summer program support Super-Stars, followed by the C1C Franz AAR.

 

In Space,

Eric "Scooter" Berry, Lt Col, USAF

34TRW/CCL

Director, Operation LAUNCH PAD

Space & Information Operations, Research

eric.berry@usafa.af.mil

(719) 333-1983, DSN 333-1983

fax 333-2663, cell (719) 201- 9749

 

 

SOC Support Super Stars

(Group) Johnson Space Center††† AH-NASA††††††††† Education

(Group) Space Warfare Center††† XRI†††††††††††††††††† Intelligence

Capt Brian Banks ††††††††††††††††††††† 34TRS †††††††††††† Program AOC

Mr Bill Byrnes††††††††††††††††††††††††††† SWC/TC†††††††††† HW/SW Instruction

Capt Troy Harding††††††††††††††††††††† DFM†††††††††††††††† Instruction, Intel Prep

Maj Herbert Jackson††††††††††††††††† SWC/SOPSC††† Academics

Capt Tom Konicki††††††††††††††††††††† CB-NASA††††††††† Ellington Field Support

Mr Roger Lance†††††††††††††††††††††††† SWC/TC†††††††††† HW/SW specifications

Capt Robert McBride††††††††††††††††† SWC/SBL†††††††† Instruction

MSgt Morrissey ††††††††††††††††††††††† 10ABW/CP†††††† Facility Support

Maj Dennette Sleeth ††††††††††††††††† 527th SAS††††††† Instruction

MSgt Timby†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 34TRS††††††††††††† Program Support

Mr Kris Washburn††††††††††††††††††††† SWC/TC†††††††††† HW/SW Instruction

Ms Killeen Williamson††††††††††††††† AHSL††††††††††††††† Mil Air Travel

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DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE

Space Operations Center

United states Air Force Academy, CO 80840

 

2 August 2002

 

MEMORANDUM FOR RECORD

 

FROM: C/Lt Col Daniel L. Franz

 

SUBJECT: 3rd Period Space Operations Center After Action Report

 

1.This memorandum will serve as the after action report for the Space Operations Center (SOC) during the 3rd summer 2002 period.I will summarize our schedule during the three weeks and offer critique on its effectiveness to bring space education to the wing while trying not to repeat information contained in the after action reports of my counterparts.I will conclude with suggestions for future SOC operations under the Operation Launch Pad program.

 

2.The third period SOC team included me, C1C Andrew Dendinger, C1C Robert Eckhardt, and CIC Peter Hefley.We started the program by watching the GE IPB brief in order to be able to do it with the next go of GE students.The next two days we received academic training on current and future space capabilities from instructors at Schriever AFBís space operations school.On the third day we received training on several computer programs including Space Missile Analysis Tool (SMAT), World Origin Threat System (WOTS), and Falconview.The same day we briefed the computer programs and their teaching capabilities to members of the academic faculty and training group.The next two days we met with Maj. Dennette Sleeth of the 527th Space Aggressor Squadron.She briefed us on their role and brought several pieces of equipment to show us and allowed us to keep the equipment to show the cadets in the GE program.The next two days we briefed the remaining GE cadets in the first go about 10-15 cadets at a time for one-hour blocks.We briefed them on the 527th Space Aggressors and space capabilities in general.We had a day off before leaving on our 3-day trip to NASA-JSC in Houston.At Johnson Space Center we were given tours of the space shuttle simulator, neutral buoyancy lab, mission control, X-38 program, and Shuttle/Space Station mockups.We also toured the airfield with the Gulfstream landing simulators, T-38 trainers, and Super Guppy Transport.While down there we also had the opportunity to tour the local Air National Guard unit.The fighter squadron showed us their aircraft, simulators, and alert aircraft.Upon return we issued the IPB brief to the second go of GE cadets.After a three-day break we briefed the second go of GE cadets for three days the same as the first.On two of these afternoons we briefed the MSS instructors, Brig. Gen. Gilbert, and the working group on the computer hardware and software and potential applications.On the last day we took a tour of two Space Operations Squadrons at Schriever AFB and the 21st Space Wing Operations Center at Peterson AFB.

 

3.The academics in the beginning were wonderful and I would not change a thing about them.They really gave an excellent overall and in some areas detailed understanding of space systems and how they operate and they were generous to come down and instruct from 0800-1700 each day.By the end of the two days all four of us came out with more knowledge of space systems and capabilities than almost all of our cadet counterparts and more knowledge than much of the Air Force.The hardware/software was also very good.The only thing to change would be to add more instruction on more of each systemís capabilities such as the wargaming capability on SMAT.At the same time, we would have been able to do much more with a good SIPRNET connection.These three days of academics however are irreplaceable and should be kept in future programs.

 

4.The exposure to the GE cadets was also excellent.In the short notice of starting the program, we were still able to reach over 720 cadets in this summer alone.The briefings were tailored well to an introduction to space.Showing the capabilities of our adversaries is a good eye opener while at the same time we were able to teach them about these systems and how they work.We also taught them of US capabilities and many of the cool things we can do with space assets.During the second go I decided two instructors were sufficient.I went every day while I had each of the other SOC controllers come one day each.I found this increased their motivation to do a good briefing on the only day they had to brief while at the same time I could do half the briefing and ensure quality control.The 527th Space Aggressors were generous enough to loan us some of their equipment to include GPS/SATCOM jamming devices and Iridium satellite telephones.It was great to work with them and without the equipment to show the cadets, the briefing would not have been as interesting and less effective.Hands on learning helps accelerate the education.

 

5.The trip was a great opportunity for us as well.Itís best to physically see and touch what we teach and what we worked with everyday.It was great to see both parts of our space history and the programs that weíre working on for tomorrow.I donít think there is a better tool for motivation.At the same time we were able to build a good relationship at JSC for not only future cadet visits but future cadet program jobs.I was inspired by the trip to never stop being a voice for space programs.With some of the time off that we had, it would be possible to see other places such as a booster launch at Vandenburg or a tour of Cheyenne Mountain.I was looking forward to Cheyenne Mountain but did not get a chance to see it.I suggest having it on the schedule for later programs.

 

6.We were also lucky to build a positive relationship with the ANG unit based at Ellington Field.It is a fully operational Air Force wing with everything to see just as any active duty base.It would be possible to have future working trips at JSC and at the same time spend a week with the ANG unit to earn Operations Air Force credit.

 

7.The final trip to Schriever and Peterson were also worthwhile.A lot is unknown to cadets about operations at Schriever.While we learned that Schriever is a major hub for Air Force space control, itís not altogether clear what daily operations are like and how each component comes together.I was able to see first hand at Schriever satellite control and even troubleshooting.I had been to Peterson several times before but I had never received an in-depth tour of any portion so I didnít really know exactly what operations were at Peterson.I was glad to finally see not only a detailed tour one Peterson facility but of the actual Wing Operations Center itself and exactly how much they control.I donít want to go into too much detail just to make sure I say nothing classified.

 

8.There is a lot of room for this program to grow in coming years.There have been many great ideas discussed by high ranking officers at the Academy so I need not go into any of them here.However, I suggest keeping the academics, trips (local and far), GE briefings, and close work with the Space Warfare Center at Shriever AFB.Also, having a team with as broad an education background as ours helped facilitate discussion and the growth new ideas/concepts.There was certainly enough time to add in more to the program and with more cadets working the SOC we could reach every other summer program with ease.I think there could be a team of briefers (about 2-4 cadets) that could give different briefings to each summer program.At the same time, another team could plan and execute different exercises tailored to each summer program (about 3 or 4 cadets per other summer program that will include a space exercise).One such exercise could be notification of a missile launch at the GE AOC.Satellite and radar impact predictions along with weather information may or may not dictate whether the GE staff wants to order gas masks, beef up security, etc.They could also pull up satellite imagery to plan how to set up the base before deploying.To facilitate such uses and make the exercises more realistic, it would be a good idea to have several satellite telephones for communications.†† This sort of setup would be easy to implement in even the next summerís program and once we are able to provide this sort of hands on training to the cadets we will make leaps and bounds with their education.

 

9.The Space Operations Center was a very unique opportunity and one I would love to repeat.I learned a lot about space capabilities and future capabilities, how these systems work and how it affects the warfighter.I was also able to take this knowledge and pass it down to other cadets and start their exposure to space earlier than previous training in the cadet wing.The 34TRW is willing to provide full support to any well developed plan in this area.If we make a good plan of action for space education integration, we will be supported 100% in not only our plan but accelerating the growth of Operation Launch Pad.I had a great experience and I hope that others are able to keep this growth of space education going.††

 

 

 

 

 

DANIEL L. FRANZ, C/Lt Col

Space Operations Center Commander