DMO conducts first-ever warfighter training

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs | February 11, 2009

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Positive progress continues for the Air Forces Northern Distributed Mission Operations program as a first-ever individualized warfighter training event was held at the 601st Air and Space Operations Center Jan. 28.

DMO is a complex and comprehensive series of interconnected, manned command, control, communications and computer equipment supporting the Homeland Defense mission here, enabling users to experience and present a vast array of Homeland Defense-oriented training scenarios. Prior to this event, DMO assets were primarily used as training tools during exercises.

“Our goal from day one, four and half years ago, was to reach a point where individual air and space operations center training could be accomplished via DMO,” said Steve Boe, AFNORTH’s DMO program manager. “It’s a ground breaking event for the AFNORTH DMO team and my hat’s off to them for making it happen.”
D.W. Smith, ARINC senior manager supporting the AFNORTH DMO program, said individual events could not be presented previously because the infrastructure did not exist.

“The AFNORTH DMO team built the infrastructure from the bottom up using a building block approach,” said Mr. Smith. “All of the C2 systems – communications, chat systems, simulation network, models and simulation target generators, had to be designed and integrated for a stand-alone training operation. It had to realistically replicate and integrate with real-world Homeland Defense systems. It is a true success story.”

Col. Vincent Mancuso, a Reservist normally assigned as the mobilization assistant to the Headquarters U.S. Air Force Director of Operations, is serving his Air Expeditionary Force tour here as a chief of combat operations in the 601st AOC. He was the trainee for the premier individual training scenario.

“DMO is a fantastic tool for building and validating skills for new combat ops trainees,” said the colonel. “DMO allowed me to learn how to use AOC assets to keep senior leaders informed and to coordinate an effective response using our nation’s air defense alerts assets. It’s also a great environment for creating progressively tougher operational challenges that can push trainees and seasoned veterans to the edge of their operational envelope.”

Colonel Mancuso said the toughest scenarios he experienced included fast moving airborne threats to the National Capital Region, threats that quickly familiarized him with the DMO tool set at his disposal.

“The chief of combat operations tool suite included numerous communications and information systems that allowed me and the entire AOC team to effectively acquire and use information. Established procedures determine how we generate an effective response to real and potential threats.”

Mr. Boe said the scenario that was used, along with future ones, will be archived for future use.

“While exercises can be years in the planning, the archived files in the library will enable users to conduct an event in a matter of hours allowing for an elevated training readiness level.

Additionally, from a progress perspective, there is still more to come in the DMO realm. According to Larry Christie, DMO operations planner, there are plans to incorporate DMO into a revitalized Top Scope competition. Suspended since Sept. 11, 2001, the competition pits the air defense sectors against each other in a battle that tests their Homeland Defense skills.

“We are looking at modifying competition scenarios to reflect the new realities of the Operation Noble Eagle mission, using our DMO technology to integrate fighter units flying virtual fighter aircraft,” Mr. Christie said.

Mr. Boe said, taken together, the resultant benefits of the program, both already realized and those yet to be, provide operators with an invaluable, flexible and economic training tool.

“We look forward to creating further opportunities with this program and to continue growing and exploiting its robust capabilities to further enhance our ongoing mission effectiveness,” Mr. Boe said.