KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
Over the past 14 months, three 81st Training Support Squadron Qualification Flight members have been working behind the scenes to support Air Force Global Strike Command’s Nuclear Command and Control Communications Center with the 1.3 billion dollar Global Aircrew Strategic Network Terminal program.
Global-ASNT is a NC3 weapon system that provides a full spectrum of nuclear communications and control across the Defense Department, so in the event of a nuclear incident, it would be the primary means of communication. Global-ASNT will support 42 bases across six major commands.
”Originally, we got a request from AFGSC’s career field functional managers to assist in the development of this training for the maintenance and operations for the system and that turned to Staff Sgt. Matthew Storer, 81st TRSS force developer, and I creating the Air Education and Training Command course that will be going online at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska,” said Tech Sgt. Zachary Wagner, 81st TRSS cyberspace support force development NCO in charge. “We created the tasks for cyber, went to MacDill Air Force Base, Florida to test out the setup and tear down capabilities to add to the deployable factor of this system, then went to Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana to create the encryption process to get the system linked with the satellite.”
Wagner, Storer and Tech Sgt. Brittani Young, 81st TRSS NCO in charge of cyber surety force development, went to contractor provided training in Boston, Massachusetts through Raytheon Company. The training was an operations and maintenance training program that taught them everything from turning the system on and operating it, to sending messages and removing and replacing every single component.
“I was there to help Wagner develop the training material for the several career fields to train on the equipment and know what tasks they need to perform in order to become signed off as well as going out and seeing how the equipment itself works,” said Storer. “Our purpose of going to take Raytheon’s contracted course was to turn it into Air Force training, so the Air Force doesn’t have to spend thousands of dollars to send someone to Raytheon for two weeks.”
The initial training for operators and maintainers is still being taught by Raytheon through fiscal year 2022 with the school house set to replace the contracted training fiscal year 2023.
“I was at an AFGSC base prior to here, so I was familiar with the nuclear aspect, what that entails and the connections,” said Young. “We figured out who we needed to speak with to bring all of those concepts together, and then Wagner and Storer were able to figure out what else was needed.”
Young’s role was to learn the new encryption key process for this project on the cyber surety end and how to make it work for this project, so going forward, everything worked at both the base and help desk level. Wagner, Storer and Young were all requested by name to work on this project by career field functional managers.
“I was coming from tactical radio to a system I had no idea about,” said Storer. “I was learning a brand new system and side of the Air Force, so I was able to look at it like a naïve Airman who didn’t know anything about it. I think that helped me develop certain steps and learning objectives in the process to help those who don’t know what they are looking at, because at first I didn’t know what I was looking at either.”
The course hasn’t been through validation, but the training tasks that were developed have been in use for approximately one year without negative feedback from the field. The first Global-ASNT system is scheduled to come online in September.