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  • 2nd CWSS narrows Air Force Weather’s first-in communications gap

    Members from Air Force Weather and Special Operations communities gathered at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, Feb. 20, to test a first-in communications capability with potential for the global Air Force mission. Joint Special Operations Command, 2nd Combat Weather Systems Squadron, 18th Weather Squadron and 16th Weather Squadron verified the ability of Defense Department satellite communication networks to operate with Project Bat Phone, a first-in communications system that pairs innovative information delivery software with off-the-shelf computers and military radios to deliver key advantages in first-in and contested, degraded and operationally-limited environments, known as CDO environments. Initial efforts had employed the PRC-117G tactical radio to do line-of-sight tests using high frequency radio transmission, validating the software’s capabilities to transmit environmental intelligence while overcoming issues inherent to wireless communication, including latency and data packet loss.
  • Cyber Evolution: 16th WS

    The 16th Weather Squadron is leading the way, reorganizing to become the 557th Weather Wing’s dedicated software and innovation squadron, a move that will generate new insights on environmental intelligence for combatant commanders around the globe. When complete, the reorganization will reinforce 16th WS’s culture of science and technological innovation and warfighter ethos, contributing to the National Defense Strategy’s line of effort to reform the Defense Department for greater lethality and performance.
  • 557th WW integrating with 16th AF missions

    The 557th Weather Wing is working to integrate its strengths into the recently formed 16th Air Force, which brought intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, cyber, electronic warfare, information operations and weather all under one roof. Integration is a key theme for the Air Force’s first information warfare numbered air force. The 557th’s efforts both reinforce the value of the wing’s existing missions, such as providing weather for aviation, but also offer new opportunities for the wing to increase lethality in the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions of other 16th AF wings. “The realignment of the 557th WW into the information warfare numbered air force will have a profound effect on the future of weather and environmental intelligence operations, and we intend to bring that future fast,” said Jeffrey Fries, 1st Weather Group chief of operations standards and tactics.
  • 557th WW realigns under new information warfare NAF

    The 557th Weather Wing has been reassigned to the Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber). The reassignment ceremony, held at the 557th WW’s headquarters here Oct. 29, was attended by commanders from Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) and Twelfth Air Force (Air Forces Southern), its former Numbered Air Force. The 557th WW joins the 55th Wing and other units whose missions fall under the new Information Warfare NAF. “The 557th operates a truly global and data-driven enterprise,” said Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) commander. “On a daily basis, your Airmen exploit a worldwide network of sensors, processing mass quantities of data, connected to a communications network capable of disseminating weather intelligence at the speed of decision to create outcomes for joint commanders.”
  • Air Force integrates missions, strengthens information warfare capabilities

    Sixteenth Air Force activated at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Oct. 11, integrating Twenty-Fourth Air Force, to include Air Forces Cyber, and Twenty-Fifth Air Force into a single headquarters that will provide global intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, cyber, electronic warfare and information operations.
  • 557th WW holds first wing operational readiness exercise

    The 557th Weather Wing completed its first operational readiness exercise since standing up as an Air Combat Command wing. Held Aug. 19-23, Operational Readiness Exercise - Steel Colander tested the wing’s ability to deliver weather intelligence in a contested, degraded and operationally-limited environment. “We exercised not only wing capabilities located on Offutt Air Force Base, but also those of our geographically-separated units worldwide, to include all our operational weather squadrons,” said Ted Vroman, a 557th WW Plans and Programs exercise planner. The Air Force Weather Agency, a field operating agency, deactivated in 2015 when the 557th WW stood up. Conversion from a FOA to an operational wing removed many non-operational functions from the organization, leaving the wing an operations-focused entity and in the position to benefit from comprehensive operational readiness exercises.
  • 2nd WXG Innovations: 14th WS releases new climate go kit

    This is the first of a series highlighting innovations by the 557th Weather Wing’s 2nd Weather Group. After only six months of in-house development, the 2nd WXG’s 14th Weather Squadron in Asheville, North Carolina, introduced their Climate Go-Kit, a new tool for weather forecasters to prepare for operations in Contested, Degraded or Operationally-limited, known as CDO, environments. The go-kit’s development aligns with three Air Force priorities: to drive innovation, restore readiness and cost-effectively modernize. “Go-kits provide climate information about a country directly to the warfighter,” said Master Sgt. Kenneth Elwood, 14th WS systems flight chief. “Users can use the information to help familiarize themselves with the country’s climate; answer planning and general climate type questions; and develop forecasts, to name just a few.” The 14th WS is the Air Force’s only climate operations unit, co-located with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information. The 14th WS collects, protects and exploits authoritative climate data to optimize military and intelligence operations and planning worldwide.
  • 557th WW joins 55th WG for Winter Havoc

    The 557th Weather Wing joined the 55th Wing, Offutt Air Force Base’s host wing, for the Operational Readiness Exercise Winter Havoc. Twenty-one Airmen from the 2nd Systems Operations Squadron, 2nd Weather Squadron and 16th Weather Squadron joined approximately 600 other Offutt AFB Airmen for the late January exercise, marking the first time the wing has partnered with the 55th WG for a mass readiness exercise since the 557th WW’s creation in 2015. “The 557 WW demonstrated its capability to deliver ready weather and cyber forces in support of multi-domain operations against any adversary across the entire spectrum of conflict,” said Lt Col. Kenneth Roberts, 2nd Weather Support Squadron commander and 557th WW Crisis Action Team representative for the exercise. This first phase of the exercise focused on pre-deployment preparations, getting Airmen ready to deploy and moving cargo. Phase two will continue in the spring.
  • Cyber Airmen “fuel” innovation

    Cyber Airmen assigned to the 557th Weather Wing recently teamed together with the Defense Innovation Unit program making changes to how airborne tankers are scheduled. The changes are the direct result of a March 8, 2018, memo from Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, where he stated, “bringing the future faster requires both expanding our culture of innovation and balancing prudent risk acceptance with agile reaction.” That is the goal of the Defense Innovation Unit where members of the military partner with companies that specialize in fields such as artificial intelligence and information technology, to find new solutions to complex problems.
  • Hardening the 557th WW’s cyber defenses

    In order to deliver timely, accurate, and relevant weather information in support of military operations in the air, on land, at sea, or in space, the 557th Weather Wing must work in and through cyberspace — without cyber readiness the weather mission fails. From maintaining the Air Force’s $322 million strategic weather computing complex to managing the flow of weather data to defending against cyber adversaries, about 20 percent of the wing’s Airmen are assigned to cyber roles. Like in the other war fighting domains, there is no guarantee of U.S. dominance in cyberspace. In fact, the 2018 National Defense Strategy calls out cyberspace as a contested domain. Because of this, the 557th WW is taking steps to protect and harden its cyber infrastructure, a tall order considering the complexity of the systems and data streams involved.
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