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News > Schriever training units in hunt for top Air Force award
Schriever training units in hunt for top Air Force award

Posted 9/4/2013   Updated 9/4/2013 Email story   Print story


by Scott Prater
Schriever Sentinel

9/4/2013 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.  -- A new plan, in part developed by two Schriever-based units, has garnered a coveted nomination for the 2013 Chief of Staff Team Excellence Award.

The 50th Operations Support Squadron's Standard Space Trainer and U.S. Air Force Warfare Center's Distributed Mission Operations Center for Space, play important roles for the Air Force Space Command Space Training Evolution Team.

Mike Newman, Space and Missile Systems Center Training and Acquisition Office director, said the team formed in response to an Air Force leadership desire to see a more efficient and flexible space-operator training system.

"They recognized that the way we've gone about training space operators can be improved," Newman said. "We started by developing a plan known as the Space Training Evolution Plan. Essentially, the plan spells out how we'll transform training requirements, acquisition, and development and sustainment processes to provide cost-effective training systems for the Department of Defense."

Thus far, the STEP team's effort continues to impress everyone who has studied it. It has already been named as AFSPC's nominee for the Air Force level CSTEA award and was chosen from among several entries to be one of the top five entries for the Air Force-wide honor. Three major generals will review the top teams and select three to attend the CSTEA event in Washington D.C., where the winning team will be announced by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III later this year.

"Our entire team is very excited," Newman said. "We started this process by submitting our package through the SMC and won. I think we were all a bit surprised. But, we were blown away when leaders chose us to represent Air Force Space Command as well."

Opened at Schriever Air Force Base in 2011 and operated by 50 OSS, the SST provides flexibility and versatility, allowing users to train on multiple diverse space systems, such as GPS and Wideband Global SATCOM. The project was envisioned as a cost effective, quality training system built on a common training architecture. During 2009, Gen. Robert C. Kehler, then commander AFSPC, directed all future space systems use the SST architecture and that current systems consider transition to SST during planned upgrades and modifications.

"The Standard Space Trainer is the perfect example of the acquisition process seamlessly blending with operations," said Lt. Col. Jay Fulmer, 50 OSS commander. "The STEP team working in concert with the 50th Space Wing representative, Capt. Adam Howland, developed and fielded a top-tier training emulator, which is allowing the 50 OSS to challenge our space operators."

The Distributed Mission Operations Center for Space is also located at Schriever and operated by the 705th Combat Training Squadron under the command of the 505th Command and Control Wing and the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center. It was chartered in 2004 and exists to provide a virtual, global and synthetic battlefield in which space forces can train, rehearse and exercise.

The STEP team also includes members of the SMC Space Training Acquisition Office, the Headquarters Air Force Space Command/A3TT, Air Education and Training Command's 533rd Training Squadron, USSTRATCOM/J93 - Joint Modeling and Simulation Division and the Air Force Research Laboratory's 711th Human Performance Wing/RHAS.

"Even though everyone on the team knows and deeply believes what we're doing is vitally important to the Air Force and all of DOD air, space and cyber forces, training isn't always the main focus in the space world," Newman said. "Of course, that's why this grass-roots team formed in the first place, to put a focus on space training and exercise and to ensure the DOD is trained, ready and capable of meeting current and future space threats."

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