NAVAL SUPPORT FACILITY, Diego Garcia -- Expeditionary airpower is vital to meeting the Department of Defense’s National Defense Strategy, and members of the 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron (EBS) evolved that concept as it employed U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command’s first overseas mobile operations center, during a deployment to Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia.
The development of the mobile operations center follows the National Defense Strategy’s Dynamic Force Employment concept, whereby military forces seek to be operationally unpredictable.
Fulfilling the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber’s promise of anytime-anywhere, the mobile operations center enables the 393rd EBS to establish a fully functioning mission planning and monitoring facility on any airfield the B-2 can operate from.
“This is the future of bomber mission planning,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Christopher Conant, Bomber Task Force commander. “Our objective out here is to create an ability to move a B-2 unit to any location in the world and generate combat sorties, as the Air Force Global Strike 2020 Strategic Plan outlines.”
According to the Air Force Global Strike 2020 Strategic Plan, in order overcome the challenges our adversaries present, commanders must embrace new considerations by reorienting, reinventing, and reimagining the future of operations in order expand operational capacity and capabilities.
Currently, the 393rd EBS is testing the mobile facility from Diego Garcia. Once implemented across Air Force Global Strike Command, mobile operations centers like these can allow commanders across the world to employ bomber forces with more flexibility than in previous operations.
“What we are doing out here is demonstrating expeditionary operations," said U.S. Air Force Maj. Justin Spencer, 393rd weapons officer. "This initiative will allow us to operate more dynamically than ever before."
To make the facility a functioning system, talent was pulled from more than ten functional areas to condense a normally fixed facility it to a unit that can be transported and operated without external support from facilities or units.
The establishment of the mobile operations center at NSF Diego Garcia was possible with the help of a team of civil engineers, logistics, and security forces Airmen who built the facility, and kept it powered and secured during its inaugural run.
One of the biggest keys to the success of the mobile operations center came from a team of communication technicians who worked to ensure the operators had access to the systems they need for mission planning.
“Our communications warriors are absolutely amazing,” added Conant. “They overcame numerous challenges to get this system operating."
Testing total force integration, communication technicians from the 131st Bomb Wing Missouri Air National Guard, 374th Communications Squadron, from Yokota Air Base, Japan, Detachment 1 36th Mission Support Group, assigned to Diego Garcia, joined members deployed from the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri.
“The entire communication support function would not be possible without our partner and guard members’ assistance,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Greg Downs, 393rd EBS communications chief. “Their efforts, experience and integration have been instrumental to the successful establishment of a network that will support our pilots and the mission.”
The 393rd EBS communications support and cyber operations teams worked to ensure the missions can be carried out in the mobile operations center by keeping communication systems intact.
Having access to this resource is crucial to the efficiency of global strike operations, and a strong communications team is an essential support function for any stateside unit. Being deployed or operating from the mobile operations center in field conditions, the need for strong communications channels becomes even more crucial.
As the 393rd EBS continues to develop the operational functionality of the mobile operations center, its integrations with the bomber task force missions has already enhanced Air Force Global Strike Command’s flexibility to deliver lethal, ready, long-range strike options to the U.S. Indo-Pacific’s area of responsibility.