July 11, 2016 – Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James visited Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado on July 7. During her time at the base, James viewed the 460th Space Wing’s Mission Control Station and spoke with space operators in their work centers and on the operations floor.
“It was great to visit today with our top Air Force leader and see our Airmen showcase the impressive work they do for our nation and our allies to Secretary James,” said Col. John Wagner, 460th SW commander. “They truly ‘Have the Watch’ with advanced warning and Global Vigilance, and I’m extremely proud of their service and sacrifice.”
The 460th Space Wing operates SBIRS, which delivers reliable and accurate missile warning and infrared surveillance information to the president of the United States, the secretary of Defense, combatant commanders, the intelligence community and other key decision makers. The system enhances global missile launch detection capability, supports the nation’s ballistic missile defense system, expands the country’s technical intelligence gathering capacity and bolsters situational awareness for warfighters on the battlefield.
“The best part about showcasing the Airmen and the SBIRS mission to Secretary James during her visit today was two-fold,” said Lt. Col. Keith Jansa, 8th Space Warning Squadron commander. “First, being able to let those that actually operate SBIRS on a day-to-day basis explain what they do to contribute to the safety and security of our Nation and the safety and security of the men and women downrange in harm’s way was greatly appreciated. Second, it was nice having Secretary James leave with an understanding that we here at Buckley execute the SBIRS mission from a Total Force construct. Our Foreign Mission Partners and Airmen from the USAF Reserve play a huge part in the success of the overall SBIRS mission.”
Earlier this year, the Air Force Space Command’s Space and Missile Systems Center and the 460th Space Wing confirmed that Command and Control of the Space-Based Infrared Systems and Defense Support Program satellites and payloads had been transferred from their legacy ground system to a new Block 10 ground system.
Block 10 consolidates operational Command and Control of Defense Support Program satellites, Space-based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbiting and Highly Elliptical Orbit sensors under one primary Mission Control Station. Block 10 also significantly increases performance capability across its four mission areas: missile warning, missile defense, battlespace awareness, and technical intelligence.With the new Block 10 upgrade, the wing continues to seamlessly provide space and missile warning for the nation and its allies.
The SBIRS program is managed by the Remote Sensing Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles AFB in El Segundo, California. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, California, is the SBIRS prime contractor, and Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, Azusa, California, is the payload integrator.
Buckley Air Force Base is located in Aurora, Colorado.