by Jennifer Thibault
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
2/2/2016 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The
50th Space Wing is leading the command as the first to successfully
achieve Space Mission Force initial capability. On Feb. 1, 50th
Operations Group crews "rolled forward" in support of Air Force Space
Command's transformation of the entire Space Mission Enterprise
heralding the beginning of a substantial cultural and organizational
shift to ensure the entire space force is prepared to fight through and
win in a contested, degraded and operationally-limited environment.
"Through the Space Mission Force construct we are revamping our crews to
respond appropriately in a dynamic environment," said Col. DeAnna M.
Burt, 50th Space Wing commander. "We are aligning to be more consistent
with the Air Force, which will allow us to focus on advanced training to
prepare our forces to effectively deal with the threats they have
To the wing, this transition involved personnel structure and training
program changes. In October 2015, the operations crews shifted to a four
month rotation during which time the members are part of the Space
Mission Task Force performing the operational mission. These forces are
presented to the United States Strategic Command commander for combatant
command requirements. The bulk of the remaining operations personnel
enter a dwell period in order to tackle advanced training to prepare for
the mission in a contested environment.
"This normalizes our force presentation and training program with other
Air Force readiness forces," said Col. Dennis Bythewood, 50th Operations
Group commander who oversees the bulk of the units primarily involved
in the transition here. "This not only ensures that we can meet our
nation's current need for enduring space capabilities, but also delivers
dedicated training time to ensure our space forces can deliver those
same space effects in an increasingly contested space domain."
The SMF construct establishes a Ready Spacecrew Program that provides
for continuation training aimed at maintaining spacecrew proficiency as
well as advanced training that is designed to advance the skills,
knowledge, and competencies required to accomplish the mission in a
contested, degraded, and operationally limited environment. This
program includes all the personnel required to successfully perform
combatant commander missions in the face of dynamic and varied threats.
"This transition impacts more than our satellite operations personnel,"
said Bythewood. "We've added our mission planning and intelligence
personnel required to execute the mission, for example, to the forces
presented to USSTRATCOM. These forces are actively engaged in the
combatant commander's site picture for what resources are needed to
execute the mission."
SMF establishes a distinct dwell time for crews to conduct advanced
training as well as overhauls how training, evaluations and assessments,
proficiency and crew force management are accomplished.
"During the dedicated dwell time, we'll review new threats and teach
crews how to respond and work through threats in order to continue to
provide global combat effects," said Bythewood. "We're stepping through
all of these changes at once but I know it will take a couple cycles for
us to normalize these changes and make additional adjustments as needed
to meet the intent of the Air Force Space Command commander, General
John Hyten. This major shift in how we do business comes on the heels of
our 75th anniversary as an operations group and no doubt lays the
foundation for the great achievements that await us."