JFCC-Space continues to support Haiti mission
By Staff Sgt. Benjamin Rojek, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 12, 2010
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The U.S. military is lending support to disaster-stricken Haiti on the ground, in the air and by sea. One unit, however, is helping out from just a bit farther away -- space.
The Joint Functional Component Command for Space here is continuing to support relief efforts in Haiti by providing space effects such as satellite communications and Position Timing and Navigation services.
At any given time, up to 200 personnel, including the JFCC-Space staff, Joint Space Operations Center, and JFCC-Space tactical units, are contributing to the overall space support being delivered to Haiti. Additionally, the JSpoC Force Enhancement Team, which is made up of approximately 30 personnel, is primarily responsible for theater integration and is the JFCC-Space focal point for the reception of space support requests (requests for space effects from users such as those at Southern Command and Joint Task Force-Haiti).
"JFCC-Space is an integral part of the current support to Haitian relief operations, " said Squadron Leader Chris Robson, who is assigned to the 614th Air and Space Operations Center from the Royal Australian Air Force.
In fact, JFCC Space was involved less than 24 hours after the Haiti disaster occurred. Once initial reports of the earthquake in Haiti reached the 24-hour watch floor of the JSpOC, it triggered a standing process to begin planning to support any requests for space support that may come from the U.S. government forces supporting relief operations. That process included drafting of a statement of intent directive from Lt. Gen. Larry James, the commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Space, for space forces assigned and attached to JFCC-Space to be prepared to support relief operations. JSpOC planners then began matching available space assets to the anticipated relief needs, and preparing the tasking order to direct space units to provide support as requested.
"Dealing with emerging theaters of operation and immediate support to disasters is part and parcel of the daily operating procedures that JFCC-Space has in place," said Squadron Leader Robson. "The entire Command exercises its response to such situations regularly, and, though the tempo at this time has increased, it is well within the capability of the professionals that are JFCC-Space."
After the quick response, JFCC-Space efforts have focused on ensuring minimal interruptions of Position Timing and Navigation services as well as ensuring availability of satellite communication constellation assets, he added. These effects are being ensured primarily through the prioritization and minimization of maintenance activities in these two areas.
The organization is also coordinating with U.S. Southern Command, U.S. Northern Command, other combatant commanders, GPS Operations Center and other U.S. Strategic Command components. These relationships ensure proper and optimum space support to Haiti.
"JFCC-Space coordinates and commands the assets that provide capabilities that are not only required but essential to all operations inclusive of combat and humanitarian support," said Squadron Leader Robson. "If operators in the field are unable to communicate, navigate and surveil their area of operation, their mission is not only more difficult but far more dangerous. JFCC-Space enables these capabilities to be brought to the mission."
Even while bringing its support to the Haiti mission, JFCC-Space continues to conduct its daily missions, ensuring that as it delivers support to a hurting nation, it continues to maintain global supremacy in space.