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Eyes and Ears: Command Center provides vital information for combat missions, support

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Luis Castro, Air Combat Command, Command Center NCO in charge of command and control operations reports, works at the ACC Command Center, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Feb. 1, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Luis Castro, Air Combat Command, Command Center NCO in charge of command and control operations reports, works at the ACC Command Center, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Feb. 1, 2018. The ACC Command Center is in charge of relaying information to the commander of ACC so that he may make informed decisions and lead his command with the proper information. (U.S. Air Force illustration by Airman 1st Class Tristan Biese)

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. --

Strategic aerial support and combat missions occur daily around the world; and Airmen at the Air Combat Command, Command Center work 24-7 to ensure that their major command’s commander and his staff are well informed of the statuses of their MAJCOM missions.

While a command center is similar to a command post1, the ACC Command Center works on a much larger scale gathering internal and external information that affects all of the command’s bases, not just a single installation. The center then gives all that data to the COMACC enabling him to make informed decisions and lead his command with the proper information.

 “On a daily basis, we are coordinating throughout the MAJCOM to make sure that all the pertinent information is getting to the commander and the command staff,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Lonnie Ellis, ACC Command Center superintendent. “Without us getting that to them, they can’t do their job efficiently and properly lead the entire command.”

According to Ellis, the seven Airman working at the ACC Command Center, must always ensure at least one person is on shift to ensure the ability to funnel command, control, communications and information support is always available to their command.  After each 12-hour shift, to avoid any lapses in continuing missions, the Airmen also brief each other about the prior shift.

The information they pass along to the command and each other, while not always known to the public, ranges from RPA GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions2 employments to the status of training missions involving 5th generation assets and allied forces.

Some of the information also has to do with unforeseen factors like weather. For instance, in the event of a hurricane at any ACC installation, the ACC Command Center would funnel vital information about the incoming weather hazard to the respective base affected so that the installation commander could make informed decisions about how to prepare for such inclement weather.

Such details about potential weather hazards could influence decisions ranging from base and flight statuses to mission adjustments.

According to U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Charles Poole, ACC Command Center NCO in charge of training, while the information they receive mostly deals with ACC bases, some data can affect the Air Force as a whole and may even reach the National Military Command Center3.

“Command and control is critical across not just Air Force but Department of Defense wide,” said Poole. “We help the leadership make informed decisions and keep information flowing up and down the chain of command.”

As the Air Force continues to prepare for potential near peer warfare operations, the ACC Command Center Airmen continue to keep an eye on the status of air combat operations worldwide.

 

 

1. Installation command posts provide command, control, communications and information support to ensure positive control of assets.

2. The Joint Direct Attack Munition is a guidance tail kit that converts existing unguided free-fall bombs into accurate, adverse weather "smart" munitions. With the addition of a new tail section that contains an inertial navigational system and a global positioning system guidance control unit, JDAM improves the accuracy of unguided, general purpose bombs in any weather condition. JDAM is a joint U.S. Air Force and Department of Navy program.

3. The NMCC is essentially similar to the ACC Command Center but instead they are a command center for nationwide events.