Military News

Friday, April 10, 2015

Old-school teamwork produces state-of-the-art facility

by Wayne Amann
25th Air Force Public Affairs

4/10/2015 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO - LACKLAND, Texas  -- There's truth to the iconic movie line "If you build it, they will come." Just ask the 'Silent Warriors' of 25th Air Force and others who teamed to construct a "Field of Dreams" of sorts for the intelligence community.

Rooms 214, 215 and 219 in the Numbered Air Force headquarters here were gutted, consolidated and renovated to form an operations center designed to integrate and synchronize 25 AF intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and electronic warfare.

"It's a one stop shop," said Col. Kyle Forrer, 25 AF Operations Center director. "This OC enhances our efforts to fully integrate into existing Department of Defense and service forums, planning and execution activities."

Twenty-Fifth Air Force Commander, Maj. Gen. John Shanahan, joined Forrer in crediting the people who worked tirelessly for a year, to make the state-of-the-art OC a reality.

"It's truly an enterprise approach," Shanahan said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony March 25 at precisely 6:25 a.m., celebrating the facility's initial operating capability. "Just like you hear me talk about the ISR enterprise, this ops center happens ONLY because of everybody around here and a whole lot more that did it."

Teaming in the construction process were the leadership and members of the 25th Air Force staff, the 668th Alteration and Installation Squadron, 690th Intelligence Support Squadron, 502nd Civil Engineer Squadron and 502nd Communications Squadron.

"There was a lot of hard work people didn't see, late nights, extra hours, weekends," Forrer said. "It was a phenomenal effort to make this happen on March 25, at 6:25 a.m."

The date and time are significant because the Air Force has an Organizational Change Request and associated documents, which if approved, will officially designate the OC as the 625th Operations Center under 25th Air Force.

The OC is the Air Combat Command's execution arm for providing America's globally integrated ISR planning and direction, collection, processing and exploitation, analysis and production, and dissemination. The OC plans, schedules and assesses in support of ISR operations around the world. The facility gives the 25 AF commander a way to provide NAF-wide operational-level guidance and direction, and command and control of delegated forces.

"Gen., retired, Chuck Horner, who ran the war for Desert Storm said, 'Air Power without operational-level command and control is a flying club,'" Shanahan said at the ceremony. "What makes us different is our ability to take this great capability of the Air Force and do command and control of it. And that's the genesis for this operations center."

A recent road trip to the Pacific Air Forces convinced Shanahan this OC is a facility the Air Force will gravitate toward.

"Every senior leader I briefed on the concept of 25th Air Force, in particular the ops center, said I want some of that, I can't wait to work with 25th Air Force and the ops center to figure out how to make us better," the general said. "This is what they're looking for. This is what command and control is all about."

In the final analysis Forrer said the OC is a functioning entity thanks to the cadre of military, civilians and contractors doing the heavy lifting to complete the project.

"We benchmarked on lessons-learned from several other ops centers, but we were not following a precise blue-print for this effort," the director said. "Our teammates have all stepped up to solve a myriad of challenges, in many cases coming up with innovative solutions ensuring we stayed on-track and on-time. They have earned my personal gratitude and professional respect."

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