Command Post: a vital component of the Mighty Ninety

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Mike Tryon
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
Everyone assigned to F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., has a mission to complete, and without any one individual the mission could potentially fail.

Those assigned to the 90th Missile Wing's Command Post are responsible for a myriad of critical duties, ranging from the performance of nuclear command and control actions in the execution of nuclear Emergency War Orders to notifying the Wyoming Game and Fish Conservation Office if a wounded antelope is encountered within Warren's gates.

Traditionally, a military unit's commanding officer is allocated a command and control staff which assists them in executing mission tasks and completing the assigned mission. Command and control (C2) functions are performed through an arrangement of personnel, equipment, communications, facilities and procedures employed by a commander in planning, directing, coordinating and controlling forces and operations in the accomplishment of the mission.

The C2 crew members reside inside a remote, secure area where they are responsible for providing the commander accurate, timely information on which command decisions are based.

"Because of the advancement in technology over the years, we now have several systems in place that allow us to communicate globally," said Senior Airman Donny Washington, 90th MW/CP emergency action controller. "These systems also allow us to increase our situational awareness about any situation that affects not only Warren Airmen, but Airmen worldwide."

They also disseminate information on behalf of the commander to higher headquarters, subordinate units and civilian agencies.

However, the command post is more than simply a glorified communications relay center.

"We skillfully employ numerous communications systems and situational awareness tools that allow for the positive control of assigned forces and weapon systems," said Maj. D.J. Johnson, 90th MW/CP chief. "While our responsibilities encompass numerous disciplines, our primary mission is to receive, decode and relay Emergency Action Messages, ensuring the accomplishment of the Mighty Ninety's ability to provide preeminent combat capability across the spectrum of conflict.

"With the exception of turning keys and a few other procedures, our controller's emergency action responsibilities are practically analogous with the combat crews on alert in the launch control centers," Johnson added.

The Command Post is a focal point for all activities that take place at the wing -- in addition to EAM processing, the command post personnel also direct conventional C2 actions that support operations orders, operations plans and emergency plans; coordinate local assets for search and rescue operations as directed by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center; disseminate, track and report information regarding international Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty compliance teams; and write and submit operational reports in accordance with Air Force and major command directives.

"Just about everything on base involves multiple steps, and we have quick response checklists that help us inform leadership, outside agencies such as the FBI, or higher, internal agencies such as the MAJCOM of what's going on," said Capt. Ellie Constantine, 90th MW/CP emergency action controller.

The types of events range from Red Cross notifications and updated road conditions to daily maintenance and incidents that would require the commander to initiate his Crisis Action Team, Constantine added.

"One of the greatest things I enjoy about my job is being able to see the mission from every angle and really getting to understand the 'big picture' and how it all comes together," Washington said.