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Continuity of Operations exercise
The 6th Space Operations Squadron executed primary command and control of DMSP operations during the April 15-19 Continuity of Operations exercise here. This included nineteen traditional reservists during annual tour days to participate in the event. Personnel from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in Suitland, Md., traveled to Schriever AFB to provide key mission support during this year’s COOP. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. David Hodge).
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DMSP Team Joins Forces for annual COOP exercise

Posted 5/2/2013   Updated 5/9/2013 Email story   Print story


50th Operations Group Detachment 1

5/2/2013 - SUITLAND, Md. -- The 50th Operations Group Detachment 1 recently joined forces with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the 6th Space Operations Squadron to exercise the Continuity of Operations Plan for the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program.

An annual exercise, the COOP is executed to ensure DMSP operations are prepared for the unexpected. Mission partners from 6 SOPS, Detachment 1 and NOAA form the core of the DMSP team, a joint group of satellite professionals from the Air Force and the Department of Commerce. Day to day, Detachment 1 leads DMSP operations, primarily commanded by NOAA civilian personnel from the Department of Commerce, at the operations facility in Suitland, Md. An Air Force Reserve unit with the 310th Space Wing, 6 SOPS, leads DMSP operations from the alternate facility at Schriever AFB, Colo.

This year's COOP was distinctive. It was the first time the hard lines connecting the primary and secondary satellite facilities were disconnected. Operators at the alternate facility conducted operations in an isolated condition, as if there were an actual disaster in the Suitland area and the primary facility was not available. The team's effort tested the stand-alone capabilities of 6 SOPS to conduct operations for long periods without the primary ops center.

By all accounts, the 15-19 April event met its overarching goal: demonstrating DMSP readiness. NOAA and 6 SOPS executed 273 total satellite supports; provided 550 hours of mission data; with zero data losses, no service disruptions, and all key players informed. Det-1 served as the primary liaison, oversight authority and lead for enterprise sustainability and customer responsiveness.

While no active-duty Air Force personnel traveled for this year's COOP, the exercise confirmed that operations can be sustained during an actual contingency as required by the DMSP Concept of Operations.

DMSP is a Department of Defense satellite system that provides critical strategic and tactical meteorological and environmental data to military and civilian users around the world.

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