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Air Forces Central officials launch new Combined Air, Space Ops Center

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- Airmen, Soldiers, Marines and Sailors along with their coalition partners from Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom are busy standing up and launching the new U.S. Air Forces Central Combined Air and Space Operations Center here.

Communications Airmen along with their contractor counterparts are ready to tackle any problems that crop up and senior leaders are eager to see their new system take flight and carry on the effort of supporting ground forces.

Up in the battle cab, the CAOC commander sits in a small room with a select group of advisers. This is a team of legal, intelligence and operations experts who provide airpower advice to the commander, and in the room are live MQ-1 Predator video feeds displayed on multiple screens.

The activity in the CAOC is fast-paced as technicians help transition the old center into the new workcenter. This living weapon system is fueled by 160 miles of fiber optic cable, displays air operations on 2,325 monitors and speaks to the outside world on 871 nonsecure phones and uses an additional 692 secure Internet-based telephones to discuss mission sensitive information.

"The old CAOC was meant to be a temporary facility as we changed locations from Prince Sultan Air Base," said Col. Jeff Brown, the transition program management office director. "The host nation started construction in 2004 then we were handed the building in May 2008. That's when we started to make our modifications and get it ready."

"This new facility will bring new technologies and improved working conditions," said Maj. Gen. Stephen L. Hoog, the Combined Forces Air Component deputy commander. "But at the end of the day it is the people that makes the CAOC work, bringing airpower when and where its needed for the joint force commander."