513th collaborates with total force, national agency to update C2 resources

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Lauren Kelly
  • 513th Air Control Group Public Affairs

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- For the past year, a group of Reservists from the 513th Air Control Group here collaborated with the Defense Geospatial Air Force Co-Production Team to update a map that will be utilized by other C2 platforms, while eliminating clutter, enabling collaboration, and striving for total force integration.

In the fall of 2020, Capt Sarrah Williams, an air battle manager with the 970th Airborne Air Control Squadron, began the daunting process of updating the map, which was last updated in 2015. 

Williams worked with the Defense Geospatial Air Force Co-Production Team, consisting of Kent Hurton, from Air Force A2/6, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and cyber effects operations, and Matthew Goodchild from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

“The Defense Geospatial Air Force Co-Production Team was instrumental in helping us get this done,” Williams said. “Our unit has so much historical knowledge and several innovative ideas that Mr. Kent Hurton and Mr. Matthew Goodchild jumped at the chance to help us. It also helped that we caught them at the right time.”

Williams, along with Lt. Col. Curtis Andersen, Capt. Josh Culver, and 2nd Lt. Mike Lopez from the 970th AACS, teamed up to revamp the map, adding missing airspaces on the map, as well as adjusting colors and line density. The team included the total force by reaching out to joint surveillance and target attack radar system, or JSTARS, units and KC-46 Pegasus units for their input, as well as the Chief Airspace Manager with the 552nd Operations Support Squadron, Mr. Chad Dearinger.

“Before the update, the map was AWACS-specific,” Williams said. “With the update, we included JSTARS orbits and refueling tanker unit’s orbits to include the total force and to give us all a tool we can collaboratively benefit from and work the cross-command and control aspect.” 

According to Williams, many aircrew are familiar with the map, whether being exposed to it during training or utilizing it for mission planning. This critical tool is used by aircrew to understand and apply AWACS capabilities and identify potential mission impacts. “Although orbits and tracks do not usually change that much over time, there were many updates and improvements that the 970 AACS Tactics shop wanted to incorporate into an updated version,” said Williams. 

The team also formatted the pdf version to allow for selectable layers to view based off of mission needs or to print for display. “If you are pilot and don’t need to see a certain layer, maybe you just want to display the military operating area, you can hide the unnecessary layers and tailor the map to just the information that you need,” Williams said. 

It took about a year to complete the project from start to finish. During the process of revamping the map, Williams was tasked to deploy and during that time, Capt. Josh Culver, 970th AACS Chief of Tactics, picked up where she left off. 

“Capt. Williams did a great job collecting all the data,” Culver said. “It’s versatile because you can load it digitally in the electronic flight bag or just print it off. I worked with the NGA to make sure it was a user-friendly product that can work across multiple mediums for the total force.”