SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.- --
Personnel from Schriever’s geographically separated unit at Ministry of Defense, Oakhanger, U.K., part of the 23rd Space Operations Squadron, and British representatives visited Schriever as well as Air Force Space Command Headquarters last month.
The purpose of the annual visit was to merge personnel from both nations under the umbrella of space warfare.
“The annual visit supports the space war fighting construct of partnering with our Allies - a key element in strengthening the space enterprise,” said Maj. Uri Mandelbaum, chief, Air Force Satellite Control Network operations for Air Force Space Command. “It provides a forum for face-to-face discussions on Oakhanger operations.”
Representatives visited for four days, meeting with senior AFSPC personnel as well as touring facilities in Building 400. Discussions and mission briefings oriented around the detachment, as well as familiarizing British personnel on space warfare to bring both parties to an up-to-date understanding.
“We are ensuring that we have a common sight picture between the U.S. and U.K. interests for the site,” said Lt. Col. Dion Dixon, 23 SOPS operations officer at Oakhanger. “We conducted meetings with 50th Space Wing and Headquarters Air Force Space Command to discuss the future of Oakhanger.”
The annual event is reflective of the partnership between the U.S. and its British allies, especially those at Oakhanger, the only Schriever GSU and AFSCN site operated by non-U.S. personnel. Under the call sign “LION,” the site, on top of providing support more than 175 U.S. DoD, civilian, allied and U.S. national satellites and critical dual coverage for geosynchronous satellites near the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, carries the unique function of supporting the U.K.’s “Skynet” satellite constellation.
“We have a very strong partnership,” said Master Sgt. Eric Reagan, 23 SOPS Oakhanger NCO in charge. “Our role here is to be the liaison between the Air Force and the U.K. Ministry of Defense.”
While the visit is a reoccurring event, the realm of space warfare is never predictable - rapidly changing on a day-to-day basis. As space is increasingly eyed by both the U.S. and its adversaries, the need to inform and maintain allies is as important as ever.
“We anticipate that we will have a plan for the way forward by early next year, we would like visits like this to become more frequent,” Dixon said. “There are some changes coming at Oakhanger that we are very excited to be working with the Brits on.”