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Posted 7/13/2012 Printable Fact Sheet
4th SOPS
4th Space Operations Squadron
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The 4th Space Operations Squadron is a component of the 50th Operations Group, 50th Space Wing, Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. The squadron was activated April 30, 1992.

The mission of the 4th Space Operations Squadron is to operate the Air Force's protected MILSATCOM systems, which provide warfighters global, secure, survivable, strategic and tactical communication during peacetime and throughout the full spectrum of conflict. The 4 SOPS's motto "Linking the Forces" reflects the squadron's responsibility to enhance the nation's secure communications capability for today's military forces. The squadron is responsible for command and control of the Milstar/Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite constellation through dedicated Extremely High Frequency antennas and the Air Force Satellite Control Network. The multi-satellite constellation links command authorities to high priority U.S. forces via communications terminals on aircraft, ships, submarines, trucks and ground sites with encrypted voice, data, teletype or facsimile communications.
Members of 4 SOPS perform satellite command and control, communications resource management, systems engineering support, mission planning, cryptographic operations, user support and anomaly resolution. Communications resource management includes satellite communications channel monitoring of payload use. Specifically, operations support personnel plan, execute, monitor and troubleshoot payload use allocations from the presidential level all the way down to tactical users in the field. These functions are unique at the squadron level, as other communications programs' channel apportionment is allocated by higher headquarters agencies.
The $41-billion protected MILSATCOM system is composed of three distinct segments: the space (satellites), terminal (users) and ground control systems.
The ground segment consists of two fixed sites located in the Satellite Operations Building at Schriever AFB and at Vandenberg AFB, Calif. Schriever AFB has two fixed command and control nodes, while Vandenberg AFB, manned with Air National Guard personnel from the 148th Space Operations Squadron, has one fixed node. The ground segment also includes redundant command and control nodes using the AFSCN.
Additionally, 4 SOPS operates three geographically distributed Advanced Ground Mobile vehicles. At higher readiness levels and during exercises, these personnel deploy with the commanders of U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Strategic Command, providing survivable, enduring and secure communications and constellation command and control throughout the entire spectrum of conflict including trans- and post-attack phases of nuclear war.
The Milstar system supports approximately 1,500 worldwide terminals. Moreover, the AEHF system will add 5,000 terminals and include allied partners of Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
The fifth and final operational Milstar satellite was launched in April 2003. 4 SOPS assumed satellite control authority for the first AEHF satellite March 12, 2012, and the second AEHF satellite was launched May 4, 2012.

The 4 SOPS gains its heritage from the 4th Photographic Squadron, which was activated June 10, 1941, at March Field, Calif. This highly decorated unit saw significant action in the Pacific Theater during World War II, until it was inactivated April 14, 1946. It was reactivated as the 4th Reconnaissance Squadron (Very Long Range) in December 1946, and inactivated on June 29, 1949. In May 1952, the unit was reactivated as the 4th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium), and inactivated on July 1, 1958, at Rickenbacker AFB, Ohio. 4 SOPS was activated April 30, 1992 from the 4th Reconnaissance Squadron, with its new mission to operate the Milstar satellite communications system.

(Current as of July 2012)

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