JSTARS Total Force Integration Life Plans and Programs> 116th Air Control Wing> Display
AIR FORCE ROBINS BASE, GA – In most sports there are two ways a team can play, offensively or defensively. The JSTARS team’s plans and programs office, also known as XP, does both simultaneously.
The Georgia Air National Guard’s 116th Air Control Wing XP and active-duty 461st ACW XP are playing as part of a Total Force Integration Team, on a joint STARS mission, in accordance with their vision statement to be the office of “yes”. This means that whatever the problem, they will find a solution.
The XP playing field has the program side acting as an offensive line-up and the flat side as a defensive line. The programs part actively seeks solutions to the needs while the plans part develops contingencies for any possible event.
âXP is real teamwork,â said Master Sgt. Hugh Hermes, 461st ACW XP superintendent. âThe 116th and the 461st are closely linked. “
The programs side is essentially the fighter’s resource for acquiring hardware and software for the E-8C Joint STARS, according to Lt. Col. Ben Stallard, director of the 461st ACW XP office.
They work with staff in the operations and maintenance groups to ensure the aircraft and people have the solutions they need for the mission. XP is essentially the nexus between the mission needs of the fighter, the industry partners and those who acquire the solutions.
They are the developer of the fighter’s requirements, initiating the fighter’s hardware and software requirements at the primary controls for fundraising, prioritization and acquisition, according to Stallard.
âIn order to stay in the fight, we need to keep upgrading our programs,â said Mark Valdez, 461st ACW XP deputy director. âWe have to remain viable for the fighter. “
To close the loop, the programs section is also working with operators and maintainers to get new hardware or software in place to ensure they have the training and spare parts needed to integrate the system. solution in JSTARS operations.
âThere’s a lot of coordination that this office does both in the wings and out,â said Kevin Lechner, program director with the 461st ACW XP. “We are there from start to finish, from requirement to commissioning.”
The central computer system of the JSTARS aircraft has been recently updated thanks to the work of XP.
This more modern system processes data faster. The upgrades allow personnel to perform more tasks faster and more efficiently on the jet, according to Master Sgt. Capri Komprood, NCO in charge of 461st XP mission systems.
Unlike most XP desktops, the 116th and 461st ACW XP desktops have a more program-involved side – something not as common in the Air Force, according to Hermes.
The defensive line, the plans section, deals with emergency response, deployment allocations and operational security.
âThe plans side of things is more about contingency planning,â Stallard said. âThey are your first and best resource in a crisis. “
The plans side is responsible for updating emergency plans for both wings while coordinating with the Robins Air Base host unit, the 78th Air Base Wing.
These contingency plans are a guide for unforeseen events, such as natural disasters, aircraft incidents, and domestic operations. They include checklists for what to do in such cases. With these, JSTARS team members can be on the same page and respond collectively in an emergency.
There is even a plan for events not covered by a checklist.
“In some cases there will be a temporary relocation of assets so that operations can continue as normal,” said Major Brandon Coleman, chief of 461st ACW Plans.
âWe are considered the crisis response team for a number of emergency responses,â said Lt. Col. Wendell Noble Jr., director of the 116th ACW XP. âWe will coordinate with the host base, Robins, and work with the 78th CAT; and we will coordinate with the state for the Guard side.
The planning side is not only concerned with emergencies; it also plays a role in the deployment of personnel and aircraft.
When a major order requests the presence of JSTARS, XP will send them the availability of JSTARS. This response is up to the Secretary of Defense, who decides when and where the JSTARS team will be sent.
Another essential element on the XP plans side is Operational Security, or OPSEC.
Due to the nature of JSTARS missions – providing commanders with surveillance, joint combat control and combat management – OPSEC is a big factor, according to Coleman.
âOperational safety plays a role in everything we do, from how we get to work, from mission planning and how we fly the jet,â said Coleman. âOPSEC never stops. “
Regardless of XP’s responsibility, this one-stop office helps keep planes up to date and prepare everyone for unforeseen events.
âXP is solution-oriented for difficult problems, it plans for the uncertain, and it is driven to become an office of yes,â said Noble.