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March 2nd, 2011

U.S. Army... Wideband Satellite Ops Center Opens (MILSATCOM)

[SatNews] Updated U.S. Army satellite control facilities have now moved from Camp Roberts in California to the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii.

United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command Commanding General Lt. Gen Richard Formica spoke at the Wideband Satellite Operations Center dedication on Feb. 23 in Wahiawa, Hawaii. The facility is a prototype for three other WSOC locations slated world-wide. Photo Credit: D.J. Montoya (1st Space Brigade Public Affairs).
The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command / Army Forces Strategic Command (USASMDC/ARSTRAT) dedicated its new Wideband Satellite Communications Operations Center (WSOC) during a ceremony at the Wideband Satellite Communications Operations Center Wednesday at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBHH), Wahiawa Annex, in Hawaii on February 24th.

"This dedication culminates years of planning and teamwork by a number of people, from all services," said Lt. Gen. Richard Formica, USASMDC/ARSTRAT commanding general. "We are particularly grateful to the U.S. Navy's Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station (NCTAMS) - Pacific for partnering with us as important tenants on this installation. We will be responsible and cooperative tenants and we look forward to a long partnership here at Wahiawa Annex. Today represents an important milestone in our command's core task to provide trained and ready space and missile defense forces and capabilities to our Combatant Commanders and Warfighters. We replaced the 1980s-era satellite control capability located at Camp Roberts, Calif., with this state-of-the-art $25.3 million facility here at Wahiawa. This enables the best support and coverage for PACOM Theater Wideband SATCOM requirements. Wahiawa is the first of four new Wideband Satellite Communications Operations Center Control facilities. Based on this center's design, we will be replacing our remaining three legacy Wideband Operations Centers over the next three years."

The facility is a prototype for three other WSOC locations slated worldwide. This center serves as the new home for Army space Soldiers of Delta Company, 53rd Signal Battalion, 1st Space Brigade. These Soldiers serve as controllers of the Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) and Wideband Global Satellite-Communication (WGS) satellite constellations. This means they command communications payload on these satellites and provide user control. The purpose of this new facility is to provide Delta Company controllers increased capabilities to control the communications payload and communications transmissions of the DSCS and WGS constellations. The system is composed of satellites, users, controllers, planners, and managers. Three WGS satellites are currently on orbit. A single WGS spacecraft has as much bandwidth as the entire DSCS constellation.

Members of the 53rd Signal Brigade's Delta Company work in their newly dedicated Wideband Satellite Operations facility in Wahiawa, Hawaii. Currently, 55 members of Delta Company work in the new facility. Photo Credit: D.J Montoya (1st Space Brigade Public Affairs).
Formica added that the center is important in his organization because of its ability to meet its responsibility in "providing military communications to troops deployed at forward stations throughout the Geographic Combatant Commands ... ." He described the operations center role as "managing the payloads and providing critical communications, navigation, and other space based capabilities to the Warfighter. This is no small task, and our Soldiers and civilians take pride in their ability to maintain the lifeline that secure communications bring to those serving in harm's way. The capabilities provided by the WGS constellation of satellites and this WSOC here at Wahiawa provide high speed satellite communications support and improved communications control services to USPACOM," Formica said. "Satellite capacity that's used to support U.S. combat forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, our fleet afloat and Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines stationed around the world who work daily to defend our great nation. With this new Ops Center, we'll work alongside 11 Australian servicemembers who will be integrated into our team as part of our bi-national partnership in the Wideband Global Satellite program."

The 28,244 square-foot, state-of-the-art building was completed under contract by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii earlier this summer.