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Metamorphosis: 14th becomes component numbered AF

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- On June 18, the 14th Air Force will re-designate the 614th Space Operations Group as the 614th Air and Space Operations Center, or 614th AOC, and will inactivate the 614th Space Intelligence Group, 614th Space Intelligence Squadron, and the 614th Space Operations Squadron.

This re-designation is part of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force's implementation of a Component Numbered Air Force, or C-NAF, organizational structure. The 14th Air Force is one of several Numbered Air Forces affected by the C-NAF implementation designed to enhance the delivery of Air Force capabilities to combatant commanders.

The new space C-NAF, known as 14th Air Force (Air Forces Strategic-Space), will be the Air Force space operations component to United States Strategic Command, or USSTRATCOM, and will improve the way the Air Force delivers and integrates space capabilities into the joint fight, said Maj. Suzanne Sauls, chief of 14th Air Force Commander's Action Group.

One reason for the re-organization is to streamline communications at the operational-level between the combatant commander with the responsibility for global space operations and the service component with the superiority of Air Force space forces, she said.

Another reason for the change to a C-NAF organizational structure is to realign units to provide unity of command in the performance of critical space operations capabilities, Major Sauls said. Manpower and skill sets from the inactivated 614th SIG, 614th SIS, and 614th SOPS units will be realigned to the 614th AOC.

"This re-designation represents another important milestone in the 'normalization' of Air Force space operations," said Col Stephen Whiting, 614th AOC commander. "As with other critical Air Force operational missions, the Air Force now stands up a dedicated AOC to be used by the assigned USSTRATCOM combatant commander to provide command and control of his assigned space operations units."

Consolidating the chain of command in this way allows the Air Force to deliver operational space capabilities through a single Air Force forces commander.

"Imagine having to coordinate a commander's call, and instead of calling one organization that puts it together, having to separately call the photography department, multimedia and video departments," Major Sauls said. "It would just be easier to contact one department. And that is essentially what we're doing for USSTRATCOM."

Even with this structure change, the jobs the Airmen do in the 14th AF will not change, they will just change who they report to.

"This structure change is not really going to affect us much day to day," said Airman 1st Class Sarah Mitchell, 614th Space Intelligence Squadron. "We will do the same jobs, just have a different commander. Our old commanders will still be in charge of us but in the form of division chiefs."

With the Air Force downsizing to become a leaner, more efficient force, the 14th Air Force feels that this re-designation will be a positive change.

"With the redesignation of the 614 AOC," Col Whiting said, "the Air Force has simplified and streamlined its presentation of forces to the Joint Space Operations Center, while leveraging unique Air Force capabilities and competencies, in concert with those of our sister services, to improve joint warfighting. The Air Force will now organize, train, equip, support and sustain the AOC dedicated to space operations in the same manner as its other AOCs."