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1 SOPS supports weapons school training

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Schriever Air Force Base recently conducted a simulated training scenario to expand its space situational awareness (SSA) capabilities. In light of the space environment becoming more congested physically and contested intellectually, it demands deliberate planning and insight to navigate successfully.

From Feb. 22 to March 2, 2016, the 328th Weapons Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, trained with 1st Space Operations Squadron, Air Force Space Command's only space-based SSA squadron, to learn about tactics, techniques and procedures and apply them to a threat scenario presented by the 328 WPS instructors.

While applying TTPs, the students devised new methods 1 SOPS might further develop and refine. These methods have the potential to provide a more efficient way to perform launch custody of space assets in order to achieve desired affects.

Every six months, a new weapons class visits 1 SOPS for training. Weapons school instructors develop and provide the threat scenario while 1 SOPS subject matter experts support the 328 WPS students' solution to the problem scenario.

It's a symbiotic relationship between 1 SOPS and the 328 WPS because the exercise is not purely academic. The TTPs are reviewed and verified by 1 SOPS weapons officers and eventually implemented into daily operations.

"We are going to rehearse, validate, codify and eventually incorporate these new procedures into day-to-day ops," said Capt. Joshua Print, 1 SOPS Weapons and Tactics Flight commander.

Space situational awareness is fundamental to space control operations by enabling the Department of Defense to gain and maintain space superiority at a time of its place and choosing.

"The goal is to have 328 WPS students integrate with the actual operational unit and their subject matter experts to facilitate effective instruction and learning," said Print. "Ultimately, when the students leave and head back to Nellis they should have an intricate understanding of the SSA mission area and its associated system capabilities, limitations and employment considerations."

Print was not alone in planning and implementing the scenario. Capt. Tyler Paffett, weapons and tactics flight commander, and Tech. Sgt. Matt Shell, NCO in charge of the weapons flight, were instrumental in facilitating the visit.

"They provided instructions on the current capabilities, limitations, system employment and considerations to affectively execute the mission," said Print.

Appreciation for the cooperative effort hit social media in early March.

"Students learned and applied detailed technical TTPs that 1 SOPS uses as it flies the Space Based Space Surveillance and newly operational Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program satellites," according to the Weapons School Facebook post. "While mission planning, students and 1 SOPS experts created a new method to track space objects that is now being submitted as a new procedure...The 328 WPS thanks 1 SOPS for their excellent support and looks forward to working with them in the future."

In May, selected students from the 328 WPS will return to 1 SOPS for a distributed operations mission. They aim to achieve deliberate tactics development by applying their weapons system knowledge to space threats.

Integrating with the new Space Mission Force construct, students will assume the weapons officer role while 1 SOPS operators act as their crew. The students will then be evaluated on how effectively they counter space threats.

For more information on the 328 WPS, go to http://1.usa.gov/22YzLJH.
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