Agency stands-up two squadrons, creates A-staff structure

  • Published
  • By Mr. Miles Brown
  • HQ AFWA Public Affairs
The Headquarters Air Force Weather Agency re-activate one squadron, activate another and officially designate an A-staff structure for lead command functions in a ceremony here today at 9 a.m. in the Bennie Davis Maintenance Facility.

The re-structuring of weather operations at the Agency comes at a pivotal point in our nation's fight against terrorist worldwide and will help ensure critical environmental situational awareness continues to flow to warfighters around the world.

This re-structuring was accomplished without an increase in personnel. According to Col. Patrick M. Condray, commander of AFWA, the existing members of Headquarters AFWA make-up the new organizations.

"AFWA's reorganization clarifies missions between those parts of AFWA conducting day-to-day weather operations and those carrying out our functional lead command responsibility to help organize, train, and equip all Air Force weather Airmen. This step will better enable us to meet warfighter needs as the Air Force copes with continuing global combat operations while recapitalizing our aging force. But this reorganization would be the right thing to do even if our service was not facing budgetary and manpower challenges," Colonel Condray said.

The agency now has two operational squadrons at Offutt AFB - the 2nd Weather Squadron and the 2nd Systems Operations Squadron. These squadrons are focused on AFWA's global weather production and forecasting missions. They produce tailored environmental intelligence supporting the Air Force, the Army, unified and joint commands, and operational weather squadrons. The squadrons also operate the DoD's space weather strategic center providing space environmental data, analyses and strategic-level products.

The reactivated 2nd WS has a wide range of responsibilities, according to the new squadron commander, Lt. Col. Marvin Treu.

"It's our job to get the best battlespace situational awareness into the hands of decision makers and troops on the ground so they can carryout their missions successfully and safely," Colonel Treu said. "We use every tool possible to make our forecasts as accurate and timely as possible and get that information to the field quickly and reliably."

Those forecasts and products include everything from satellite analyses of dust storms and volcanic ash clouds to early warnings issued when solar storm effects will hinder communications or satellite operations. The squadron also provides detailed battlespace environmental intelligence to Special Operations Forces teams whenever and wherever they deploy.

The major method for transmitting weather forecasts and products to the decision makers and warfighters is via high-speed computers and satellite communications - that is where the 2nd SOS steps in.

"The 2nd SOS operates and sustains a $277M computing complex and communications infrastructure. We perform this mission around the clock to provide terrestrial and space environmental characterization and information exploitation ensuring battlespace dominance for American and coalition warfighters and decision makers," said Major Christopher Cantrell, the new squadron commander. "Additionally, our systems will facilitate the Air Force's transformation towards network-centric combat operations, enabling faster reachback support for our ops-savvy battlefield weather warriors and their supported decision makers. It is a great privilege to be at the heart of this transformation for Air Force weather and provide this vital reachback capability."

The 2nd SOS also provides full-time technical systems assistance to joint weather operators worldwide and manages the net-centric environmental data used to sustain air, space and ground operations executed by unified and combatant commands around the world.

In addition to establishing the two new operational squadrons, the Agency's headquarters A-staff is now aligned similar to Air Force major command headquarters with A1, A3/5, A6 and A8 staffs.

"The A-staff continues to carry out AFWA's responsibilities as the functional area lead command for Air Force weather operations," said Colonel Condray. "By planning, programming and fielding standard weather systems and procedures, the A-Staff is the key to providing weather warriors around the world - including the two new squadrons - with the training, tools, and equipment they need to support Air Force, Army, and Joint operations."

AFWA weather lead command functions include developing, fielding, and sustaining the Air Force Weather Weapons System (the complex "system of systems" that collect and analyze weather information, then bring it to warfighters from the battlefield to national command authorities), administering the Air Force weather standard evaluation program, managing the requirements process, and leading the Air Force weather training program.

"We have used Smart Ops 21 principles to reorganize the Agency to better support the warfighter and our nation," Colonel Condray said. "We have already begun to realize benefits from this move by reinvesting resources freed up through clarifying roles and responsibilities. Now it's time to move to full throttle and put months of planning to the test with more effective and efficient weather operations focused where we truly add value -exploiting weather information to make the right decisions in both war and peace.