By Staff Sgt. Veuril McDavid, 102nd Intelligence Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 08, 2015
OTIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. -- Members of the 102nd Intelligence Wing and special guests held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the wing's newest facility on Nov. 7 here.
The building is part of the Air Force's Distributed Common Ground System, which is also referred to as the AN/GSQ-272 Sentinel weapon system. It is the Air Force's primary intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance weapons system and deals with ISR planning, collection, processing, analysis, exploitation and dissemination. The weapon system employs a global communications architecture that connects multiple intelligence platforms and sensors.
The construction for the new building began in Nov. of 2009 with a ground breaking ceremony. The unit commenced 24/7 initial-operating-capability missions in a temporary facility on base in December 2009. Since then, the unit has exploited and analyzed information from MQ-1 Predators, MQ-9 Reapers, and MC-12W Liberty aircraft. The new $17.6 million facility and associated equipment were necessary to reach full-operating-capability and exploit Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance data from high-altitude platforms like the U-2 Dragon Lady and RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft.
"It's tremendous to see DGS-MA declare full-operation-capability here at Joint Base Cape Cod," said Col. Virginia Doonan, Vice Commander, 102nd Intelligence Wing. "From a historical perspective, our wing has now come full circle in our lineage in Air Force missions. In 1921, the 101st Observation Squadron was activated and was the ISR of that time period. We moved away from intelligence after WWII, when we processed wet film, and moved into the decades of fighters and Air Defense of our nation. Now, in 2015, we have stood up as a fully-operational intelligence mission and have come back to the roots of the 102nd Intelligence Wing and the 101st Intelligence Squadron in our 24/7 ISR role. The hard work of all of our Airman in intelligence, civil engineering, communication, engineering & installation, and other support functions were integral in the completion of this monumental task."
The new facility, and its weapon system, is run by the 102nd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group. The group is comprised of three squadrons, equating to more than 385 full-time and drill-status intelligence, communications, and support airmen. It is their mission to perform "near-real-time" intelligence processing, exploitation, and dissemination. This means analyzing and interpreting raw data from a number of sources and transforming this material into decision-quality information and actionable intelligence. This data is then rapidly disseminate to air, ground and naval force component commanders for use in the planning and execution of military operations across the spectrum of conflict.
"Bringing all airmen and mission elements of DGS-MA under one roof has been an exceptionally long and tedious process," said Col. David McNulty, Commander, 102nd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group. "Because of the insatiable need for ISR support, many of our crew members associated with high-altitude exploitation missions have been on the road for years, performing their crew-duty on the operations floors of other DCGS sites. The FOC installation and operations team, comprised of our communications professionals, High Altitude crews, and contractors put in an absolutely herculean effort this summer and early fall to bring it all together."
Each Distributed Ground Station is capable of robust, multi-intelligence processing, exploitation and dissemination activities to include sensor tasking and control. Sites can support multiple ISR platforms in multiple theaters of operation simultaneously.
"Today brings to full circle, to final completion, all the dramatic, painful, and taxing changes levied upon this wing since the fateful decisions of [the Base Realignment and Closure program], on 13 May 2005," said Col. James LeFavor, Commander, 102nd Intelligence Wing. "With the start of our fully functional intel weapons system here, we have finally made the total transition from Fighter to Intelligence Wing."
The U.S. Air Force's ISR enterprise is vital to the national security of the United States and its allies, providing an unrivaled capability; focused, integrated ISR is inseparable from operations and enables mission execution.
Air National Guard units such as the 102nd Intelligence Wing are vitally important to that mission. The new facility provides the Air Force additional capability and capacity to support worldwide ISR missions with combat ready and experienced analysts.