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USAF’s ShOC-N Battle Lab Hosts Distributed Command and Control Event

Friday, June 10th, 2022

Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada — The 805th Combat Training Squadron’s Shadow Operations Center – Nellis, or ShOC-N, is the U.S. Air Force’s premier battle lab supporting the development, advancement, and maturation of key technologies and capabilities designed to compress the kill-chain for joint and coalition warfighters.

The ShOC-N accomplishes this mission by utilizing multi-domain, all-domain, and cross-domain solutions spanning all classification levels, working closely with key defense, industry, and sister services such as the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Missile Defense Agency, and the Defense Industrial Base.

In addition to hosting government sponsors and industry partners daily, the ShOC-N is helping to steer and evolve Joint Staff doctrine and guidance for all-domain and cross-domain solutions and capabilities by focusing on defining and developing instrumentation for data, networks, software, and air component-specific command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence, or C4I, warfighting processes.

Working closely with their wide range of mission partners, the ShOC-N is a vanguard unit on the frontlines of next-generation technologies for the USAF and Joint Staff. With key placement and access to Nellis AFB’s unique mission, the ShOC-N is providing a critical venue to advance and refined key technologies and showcase them to U.S. and coalition leadership in a tactically and operationally relevant setting – to see the technology working in a warfighter environment with real-world operators at the helm vice a clean lab with scientists only.

Normally, ShOC-N leverages existing exercises to meet mission requirements.  But sometimes, when no other appropriate venue exists, the ShOC-N team will host its own organic event to advance and refine technologies. A recent example occurred at the end of April. The ShOC-N hosted an organic Distributed Command and Control Event simulating Agile Combat Employment utilizing new technologies available at the ShOC-N. The ShOC-N set up an austere location simulating a pacing adversary threat environment for the new technologies and their ability to operate in a degraded setting.

“ShOC-N’s ability to operate in the shadows of operational theaters or large-scale exercises allows us to experiment in the most realistic, operationally relevant ways.  Everything we do is nested within the USAF Warfare Center’s Pacing Challenge Campaign Plan. All new technology is vetted against our ability to compete with China,” said Col. Frederick Coleman, 505th Command and Control Wing commander, Hurlburt Field, Florida.

The Air Combat Command C2 Futures Branch’s Tactical C2 Weapon Systems Division leveraged the event to shape Battle Management Command and Control functions requirements, viewing several mobile and rapidly deployable tactical air component C2 systems at work in an ACE environment.

“Major General Slocum, ACC/A3 [director of operations], challenged the staff to rapidly prototype and field a Tactical Operations Center – Light, or TOC-L, capability,” said Maj. Carl Rossini, C2 Futures Branch chief. “[The] ShOC-N enabled us to meet that challenge by quickly bringing together the event, data, warfighters, test organizations, and acquisitions.”

Not only did this event leverage unique ShOC-N capabilities, but it also served as a risk reduction event for the Pacific Air Forces’ Valiant Shield 2022 exercise, along with ACC’s participation in the U.S. Army Futures Command’s Project Convergence 2022 exercise.

Organizations that partnered with the ShOC-N for the TOC-L experimentation included the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense Research and Engineering 5G support team, the Missile Defense Agency, representatives of the ACC staff, the Air Force Joint Test Program Office, the 605th Test and Evaluations Squadron, the 422nd Test and Evaluations Squadron, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Solypsis, Global C2 Integration Technologies, Lower Echelon Analytics Platform – Tactical, or LTAC, and Novetta Systems.

In addition to external mission partner involvement and success, the ShOC-N employed their organic data scientist team to develop methodologies to measure data latency from various systems, data files, and logs. Their analysis proved successful and demonstrated data scientists’ current and future utility, along with the need to advance and automate instrumentation.

“Collecting and storing mass amounts of data without a plan is of no value. Turning volumes of data into decision quality information is where we show value, and I’m proud of our data science team,” said Lt. Col. David Spitler, 805th CTS/ShOC-N commander.

Instrumentation is a core attribute of the battle lab still under development.

“The analytics shown by our data science team and the LTAC cyber team sparked the imagination of what is possible. However, it also showed how much more investment is needed to truly instrument the battle lab,” said Col. Aaron Gibney, 505th Combat Training Group commander, Nellis AFB, Nevada. “We need to be able to define what we’re measuring and then measure it in an automated, objective, quantitative way.”

When data is collected, classified, labeled, properly tagged, and stored with ontologies, the instrumented data provides the basis for objective evaluation of technical performance in the experimental lab environment. Instrumentation is intended to enable objective methods for A|B comparisons, measuring compression of warfighting processes, data latencies, and the efficacies of prototypes against currently fielded hardware and software. With instrumentation, the ShOC-N will provide objective reviews to inform senior leader decisions for the continued prototyping and/or transition to test to deliver capabilities to the warfighter rapidly.

The Distributed Command and Control Event showed how critical the ShOC-N is as the USAF develops and matures advanced technologies to compress the kill-chain and streamline the decision-making process for warfighters. The ShOC-N was able to showcase key technologies in an ACE environment and will continue advancing its mission to support the warfighter. 

“The warfighter ethos is alive and strong in the ShOC-N,” said Coleman.

The 805th CTS reports to the 505th CTG, Nellis AFB, Nevada, and the 505th Command and Control Wing, headquartered at Hurlburt Field, Florida.  

By Deb Henley

505th Command and Control Wing

Public Affairs

Using VR Through VALOR to Improve Combat Casualty Care

Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. —  

The 24th Special Operations Wing Surgeon General’s office has implemented the use of virtual reality training devices, in partnership with SimX, throughout special tactics to maintain the critical pararescueman’s skill in an ever-changing operational environment.
“The operational mission is going to continue to grow in complexity in the future fight,” said U.S. Air Force Col. John Dorsch, 24th SOW Surgeon General. “The PJs must be prepared to treat both injury and illness in austere environments for longer periods of time with limited reach-back.”


When looking at what the future operational environment may look like, the 24th SOW SG team must consider the implications to operational medicine. Scenarios PJs face could be in low-visibility areas where they have to keep patients alive for longer periods under possible chemical, biological, radiation or nuclear conditions.


“Preparing PJs medically for the future fight will require an advanced interoperable standard, optimized initial and sustainment training, deliberate tech development and integration, and enhanced performance tracking and feedback,” said Dorsch.
The virtual reality program objectives are to improve realism, increase flexibility and reduce cost. Through more than $10 million in Department of Defense Research and Development Funding and the Air Force Small Business Research Innovation Research program, SimX and the 24th SOW have been able to create more than 80 training scenarios including canine treatment and care, blast injuries, severe gas exposure, and more.
These training devices provide intricate and realistic training scenarios that other methods, such as medical dummies, cannot, and improves the effectiveness of the training.
“By using a flexible piece of equipment, we are able to deliberately and efficiently target specific desired learning objectives based on evolving mission requirements,” said Dorsch. “We now have the time and bandwidth to provide trainees with enhanced real-time feedback from the through the program, which grades the trainee on a point system through data analysis and a performance tracking system.”


Currently, there are 14 sites online using the PJ Tactical Combat Casualty Care curriculum, including Air Force Special Operations Command and Air Combat Command. In the future, they plan to expand access to the existing medical training portfolio across all SOF TCCC responder tiers, broaden capabilities and integrate partner force training.
“The VALOR program has increased the availability of efficient and effective medical training and has allowed us to develop complex decision-making, which will improve survival rates in U.S., coalition and partner force combat casualties in the future fight,” said Dorsch. “VR training is critical for ensuring that the highest level of combat trauma and austere medical care are provided by our special operations ground forces. We have only scratched the surface of its incredible potential.”

Story by Capt Savannah Stephens, 24 SOW Public Affairs

Photos by TSgt Carly Kavish

Air Force, Space Force Announce Next Hackathon at 3 Locations and Classifications, Enabling Government, Industry, Citizens to Build Emergent Weapons System Capabilities

Saturday, June 4th, 2022

WASHINGTON (AFNS) —  

Applications are now open for the next BRAVO Hackathon, BRAVO 1 Canary Release, which will kick-off July 18-22 simultaneously at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia; Patrick Space Force Base, Florida; and Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. 

A hackathon is an innovation and software development event commonly employed by technology companies in which teams self-form and urgently develop working prototypes that are later presented to senior leaders. Canary Release takes its name from a data-driven software release technique, leveraged frequently by technology companies where new software is introduced to a sample of users in production for telemetry collection and validation before distributing the software to the remaining population. 

BRAVO hackathons gather engineers, data scientists, data visualization and user experience experts, and product and use case owners from industry, academia, government and citizenry to build operationally focused emergent capabilities with mentorship from senior Department of Defense leaders. At BRAVO 0, the first hackathon’s 11 teams focused on challenges such as: jet sensor visualization and playback, target planning and pairing, multi-jet sensor fusion analysis, artificial intelligence-assisted radar sensor failure mitigation, maintenance visualization and automation/artificial intelligence-assisted personnel recovery. 

Four months after BRAVO 0, one project’s work has been operationalized to the European theatre, while half have been selected by Air Force organizations for additional development, testing and fielding. BRAVO 0 projects produced capabilities related to Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall’s operational imperatives in areas such as Air Force Joint All-Domain Command and Control, next generation system of systems, post-flight data analysis and readiness. 

“A senior DoD official recently referred to the capability to deploy updates to SpaceX Starlink in response to data indicating jamming as ‘eye-watering.’ This shouldn’t be the case. Every big tech company and some nation states have already built automated pipelines that collect, aggregate and fuse data to enable such capabilities,” said Stuart Wagner Department of the Air Force chief digital transformation officer. 

“DoD talks a lot about connecting weapons systems but has been too slow to implement groundbreaking, data-driven capabilities. BRAVO hackathons leverage existing Department of Defense technologies to provide hackers the development environment and operational data to rapidly build data-driven kill chains and cognitive electronic warfare capabilities. If you are a cleared or uncleared American citizen with technology skills looking to build national security capabilities during a one-week event, this is your opportunity.” 

Unlike other DoD technical environments, BRAVO hackathons allow hackers to bring open-source software and data into the development environment in minutes providing unprecedented software and data collaboration on operational data. 

The goals for Canary Release are to: validate rapid development in a cloud-based environment across multiple bases, military departments and classifications on operational use cases; provide a new way for American companies, citizens and government employees to develop DoD capabilities; and generalize the BRAVO development model to enable future scaling to partner military departments, combatant commands, U.S. government agencies, and U.S. partners and allies.

“The first BRAVO hackathon set a record for maximum concurrent users on our AI development environment. We agree that we must increase our digital and AI investments to operational use cases, including those identified and built at BRAVO hackathons. We are evaluating opportunities to scale this innovation model to the DoD and federal government enterprise,” said Greg Little, deputy director of Enterprise Capability at the Chief Digital and AI Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense. 

For Canary Release, use cases have been sourced from Air Combat Command, Space Launch Delta 45 and Space Force Chief Technology Information Office. All participants must be American citizens. Participation at the Patrick SFB does not require a security clearance while participation at the remaining bases requires a secret clearance. Companies with employees holding active Special Access Program read-ins are encouraged to apply. 

BRAVO Hackathon intends for 60% of hackers to be government employees or DoD contractors with approval of their government contracting officer with the remainder coming from industry, academia and American citizenry. 

Canary Release is hosted by various organizations within Air Combat Command, Space Launch Delta 45, Space Force Chief Technology and Innovation Office, DAF’s Chief Information Office, 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing, Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office, CyberWorx, AFWERX, Congressional offices from the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks Program Executive Office, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, BESPIN software factory and Morpheus among many others. 

About BRAVO hackathon series 

The BRAVO hackathon series is named from Project B, a 1921 series of joint Army-Navy target exercises conducted on surplus ships in response to Army Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell’s claim that bombers sink battleships. This claim undermined the then-current investments and strategy of the then Department of War. The Secretary of War and Secretary of the Navy authorized Project B to disprove and disgrace Mitchell by demonstrating the insignificance of airpower. Mitchell instead directed his bombers to destroy all the test ships, changing military strategy, defense resourcing for aeronautics and aircraft carriers, and ultimately the Department of War by proving the need for a separate Air Force military department. 

Styled off Project B, BRAVO hackathons are sponsored by senior DoD leaders to provide technical and cultural innovation environments that enable government, academia, industry and citizenry to test and validate bold ideas on real DoD data. 

Application

Department of Defense employees and DoD contractors may apply as either support staff or hackers via Common Access Card login here

Federal employees outside of the DoD or contractors without a Common Access Card may apply here

Industry, academia and citizens interested in being considered to participate via Air Force CyberWorx’s Partnership Intermediary, CCTI, can apply here. Selected participants will receive additional details. 

Project demonstrations are offered to DoD and federal employees through a science fair. Applications are available here

Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

AFSOC Incorporates Weapon Systems Cyber Defense in Emerald Warrior 22.1

Friday, June 3rd, 2022

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (AFNS) —  

Air Force Special Operations Command recently incorporated defensive cyberspace operations actions, for the first time, into the overall training objectives during Emerald Warrior 22.1.

The exercise fused cyber effects into aircraft operations and employed two mission defense teams, with the cyber defense correlation cell and demonstrated how AFSOC will deploy MDTs to defend weapon systems from cyber-attacks.

The communications and information element within AFSOC developed a realistic scenario to maximize training and awareness of cyberspace threats to aircraft avionics. The identified scenario and events allowed maintainers, cyberspace and aircraft operators, and intelligence and battle-staff members the opportunity to see the impacts of cyber threats to weapon systems, firsthand.

During the exercise, AFSOC staff and MDTs worked with Shift5, a commercial cyber security company, to test and validate a real-time cyber intrusion detection system on an aircraft, and a cyber-incident response software tool within the Cyberspace Vulnerability Assessment/Hunter to assist MDTs in executing cyberspace defense operations.

Shift5’s technology enabled MDTs with the 1st Special Operations Communication Squadron and 27th SOCS, Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, to test their training, and raised awareness of cyber threats to the operational community.

The MDT with the 1st SOCS included three personnel with the 87th Electronic Warfare Squadron, Eglin AFB, Florida, and two instructors with the 39th Information Operations Squadron. Additionally, the MDT with the 27th SOCS was augmented by three personnel with the 193rd SOCS at Harrisburg Air National Guard Base, Pennsylvania.

The Defense Enterprise Cyber Range Environment for Command, Control and Information Systems provided a realistic training environment which challenged the participating MDT’s technical, analysis and mission-planning skills, while being actively attacked and challenged by a cyber-red team with the U.S. Army’s threat system management office.

Members with the 318th Cyberspace Operations Group, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, provided a secure data transport between all players and teams on a closed-looped network.

The scenario involved a flying aircraft experiencing a critical event of unknown origins that exercised numerous operational processes, leading to the discovery of a cyber-threat. During the exercise a sortie reported mission computers failures and performed actions enabling the aircraft to “limp home.” When the plane touched down, maintainers with the 901st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron executed a cybersecurity checklist and MDTs began to work.

The MDT’s actions saved the maintainers from replacing the mission computers, as well as saving the U.S. Air Force $750,000 for each mission computer that would need to be replaced.

With the realistic training incorporated into Emerald Warrior 22.1, impacts of cyber threats to aircraft, and how those threats affect operations and readiness, ensured aircraft maintainers, MDTs and operators remain ready and relevant to cyber-attacks.

Air Force Special Operations Command Communications and Information

Air Force Announces New Mustache Policy, Sister Service and Joint Unit Patch Update

Saturday, May 28th, 2022

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) —  

The Air Force recently published a memorandum outlining updates to the Department of the Air Force Instruction 36-2903, Dress and Personal Appearance of United States Air Force and United States Space Force Personnel, which include mustache, sister service and joint unit patch wear guidance. The updates are effective immediately for Airmen.

“These changes will allow Airmen additional flexibilities as to how to wear mustaches” said Gwendolyn DeFilippi, acting Deputy Chief of Staff for manpower, personnel and services. “Additionally, allowing Airmen to wear sister-service patches in their current color configuration influences cohesiveness and pride while assigned to joint organizations.”

Mustaches: No portion of the mustache will extend below the lip line of the upper lip. Additionally, the mustache will not go beyond a horizontal line extending across the corners of the mouth and no more than 1/4 inch beyond a vertical line drawn from the corner of the mouth.

Patches: Airmen assigned, attached, detailed, or activated in support of sister-service units or joint organizations can now wear the unit’s patches in accordance with the sister service or joint organizations wear instructions.

The badges or patches can be worn in the sister service or joint organization’s color configuration and will not be converted to the spice brown color.

DAFI 36-2903 takes precedence if a sister service or joint organization wear instructions cause a conflict in Air Force patch configuration guidance, i.e. the wear instruction might switch a patch designated as a “left sleeve” patch to the right sleeve.

These updates were based off feedback provided to senior leaders and the updated DAFI will be published at a later date.

Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Emerald Warrior 22.1 Concludes for AFSOC, Czech Special Forces

Tuesday, May 24th, 2022

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. —  

Air Force Special Operations Command wrapped up its 15th Emerald Warrior exercise that provided realistic and relevant training to prepare special operations forces, conventional forces and international partners for conflict in an evolving, strategic environment. 

The EW 22.1 planning team applied lessons learned from real-world operations to train and ready forces to the joint force, while staying focused on security priorities laid out within the 2022 National Defense Strategy; specifically, pacing strategic competitors. Trained, credible forces and strong international partnerships are pivotal to this effort.  

“In this year’s iteration, we improved our approach to command and control through the employment of the Special Operations Task Group and Special Operations Task Unit,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Kevin Koenig, exercise director of Emerald Warrior. “This dispersion of leadership allowed for real-time, on-the-ground decision making and allowed commanders to perform operations quickly and more efficiently. We exercised our agile combat employment capabilities and focused additional training on non-kinetic skillsets to include public affairs and information operations. With our partner nations and sister services, our goal is to continue to deter adversaries, now and in the future, in all domains.” 

The objective for this year’s EW was to gain and maintain an advantage on the battlefield and in the information environment, and grow kinetic and non-kinetic effects above and below the threshold of armed conflict from strategic competitors. 

This annual exercise is an opportunity to further test and improve future approaches to AFSOC units like the mission sustainment teams. These MSTs established forward-operating bases by providing initial site security, receiving cargo and personnel, and setting up shelter. 

“It was very impressive how the 1st SOW and 27th SOW [from Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico] capabilities came together in order to forward stage our contingency locations during this exercise,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Travis Deutman, commander of the Emerald Warrior SOTG. “As these capabilities continue to progress, it’ll definitely be something that’ll be useful within AFSOC.” 

In line with AFSOC’s Strategic Guidance, the exercise fuels on-going innovation and experimentation efforts within the command.   

“The most important idea to understand about Emerald Warrior is that as AFSOC implements force generation, we’re building new concepts; the two biggest concepts being the SOTG command team and our MSTs,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Michael Haack, deputy director of operations for AFSOC. “These concepts combine to enable the force to do agile combat employment in a contested environment. We increased our agility; we pushed our decision making forward to the lowest level. These teams are trained and enabled, and ready to fight the fight in the contested and uncontested environment.” 

In addition to introducing new command and control structure, the exercise continued as a forum of collaboration between the U.S. and its international partners and allies. This year, AFSOC hosted partners from the Czech Republic. 

“We look forward to working with our partner nations and coalition forces from across SOF,” said Haack. “Emerald Warrior allows us to problem solve in an exercise environment, establish communication and build enduring relationships. Those relationships with our Czech partners and fellow SOF coalition forces are critical so we’re not meeting them for the first time down range.” 

By 2nd Lt Cassandra Saphore, Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

Future of Nursing: Telehealth, More Innovation, Maybe Some Robots

Friday, May 20th, 2022

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AFNS) —  

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has fast-tracked many changes to the Military Health System and forced all providers – especially nurses – to innovate at near-quantum speed with agility and flexibility.

Nurses are the backbone of daily healthcare operations. In the future, nurses will continue to play a vital role in the evolution of modern healthcare.

“Nursing will take on more leadership and strategic roles to transform the healthcare system, better advocate for nursing personnel, and integrate across care to enhance the multi-disciplinary team,” said Brig. Gen. Anita Fligge, Defense Health Agency chief nursing officer.

As the DHA observes 2022 Nurses Week, Fligge and other top DHA nursing officers talked about changes on the horizon for military nursing and the details of how the career field will evolve in the coming years.

They said the pandemic has underscored the connection between health and readiness. Virtual healthcare options will continue to expand, and robotics may play a prominent role in standardized care in the future while continued education for nurses will be essential to maintaining a ready medical force.

Working in a joint environment within the integrated DHA workforce will improve efficiencies for nurses, allowing them to spend more time on patient care by having standardized policies, procedures and tools across the services, Fligge said.

She pointed to the collaboration already underway in the local healthcare markets. For example, she said, Navy nurses in the Puget Sound market help backfill at the Madigan Army Medical Center and vice-versa. The same collaboration is ongoing in the Colorado market, she said. Air Force nurses are assisting at the Army’s Fort Carson Evans Army Community Hospital.

The pandemic “has opened the doors for nursing to see what could change as to how we care for patients in the future, using technology in a new way, and using data to assist in bed expansion or use of resources more effectively,” said Army Col. Jenifer Meno, DHA deputy chief nurse officer.

The pandemic has “required more precision and flexibility, including virtual healthcare, remote patient monitoring, and touchless medication refills to optimize care delivery,” Fligge said.

Virtual health

The future will mean more virtual healthcare and telehealth services for certain specialties such as dermatology, behavioral health, primary care, urgent care, and obstetrics while maintaining the focus on high-quality patient care and increased access to care, Fligge explained.

The expansion of virtual care will help save lives on the battlefield and improve care during humanitarian crises and future pandemics.

Additionally, at home, virtual health will continue to provide MHS beneficiaries with more access and flexibility to get assistance and appointments.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taxed nursing staffs beyond anything in recent memory as they cared for both COVID-19 patients and maintained routine healthcare operations.

The pandemic has “prompted the need for us to re-look at staffing models and ratios to optimize utilization of the workforce, while ensuring safe, high-quality care delivery and positive outcomes.” Fligge said.

The past two-plus years also have seen a “greater awareness and need to address burnout and retention,” Fligge continued.

Better health, better outcomes

Keeping nurses themselves healthy is a key priority for the entire health system, Meno said.

“The more healthy you are makes you more resilient in multiple ways, from being physically healthy, having mental well-being, and spiritual well-being,” she said.

These three are all part of Total Force Fitness, the Department of Defense’s framework for improving holistic health and performance aligned to one’s mission, culture and identity.

She pointed to the increasing use of mobile applications as one way to monitor health across the military community. These apps are available to help decrease stress, monitor exercise habits and support healthy diets.

“Nurses can use that data to assist in educating and teaching patients how to care for themselves as well as recognize triggers that may be a risk to their care,” Meno said.

“If we maintain a healthier mindset, it prepares the body to fight off disease and illness. If we use it to help our patients to be healthier and do preventive activities, that would change potential outcomes for the future.”

More robotics and AI

Nurses have been integrally involved in newer surgical techniques such as robotic surgery since the 2000s.

“Some things never change,” Meno explained. “Nurses in the operating room will continue to be the eyes and ears for the patient. They will continue to ensure that the patient is receiving the best care with high quality and safety.”

Nurses on robotic surgical teams must demonstrate “a very high level of professional knowledge and be experts in robotic technology. This is demonstrated by playing a key role in data collection, analyzing trends and outcomes, and identifying safety issues,” Fligge said.

The nursing team will need to continue to maintain sterile techniques and ensure the integrity of the surgical field, Meno said. The team will need to communicate more in the operating room as technologies evolve. And nurses will use evidence-based teamwork tools from Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety [TeamSTEPPS] to support a highly reliable organization, Meno added.

TeamSTEPPS is an evidence-based teamwork system designed to enhance patient outcomes by improving communication and other teamwork skills among healthcare professionals.

Artificial intelligence is already a technology nurses use in everyday care via mobile health and alerts in joint tele-critical care network units. These are an important force multiplier, leveraging virtual health resources to extend critical care expertise and treatment at a distance.

And without a doubt, there are more changes to come. AI and machine learning will assist nurses by using data to help improve the efficiencies of systems and processes, but those technologies are still in their infancy.

More nursing expertise

The pandemic has also meant an “increased capability and use of our nursing workforce by ensuring that personnel are equipped with the education and training to perform at the highest level and scope of practice and license,” Fligge explained.

Meno said she sees more nurses getting certifications to be the subject matter experts in their field.

The increased number of nurses obtaining their Doctorate of Nurse Practice will also grow now that the American Association of Colleges of Nursing has endorsed the movement of advanced nursing practice from a master’s degree to the doctorate level, Meno predicted.

“This doctorate develops nurses to look at process improvement and holistically at improving systems and processes that include other disciplines in patient care.”

Meno explained that hybrid nursing roles discussions have already taken place.

“We see nurses now that are doing hybrid nursing roles due to their versatility and agility. Nurses are not only at the bed side, but they are also clinical nurse specialists, research scientists, advance practice providers, educators and health system leaders.”

By Janet A. Aker, Military Health System Communications

First Air Force Supports US Space Command as ‘Air Forces Space’

Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

TYNDALL AFB, Fla. (AFNS) —  

The Department of Defense designated First Air Force as ‘Air Forces Space’ (AFSPACE), and the fifth service component to U.S. Space Command May 3.

The change postures First Air Force to provide airpower expertise and advocacy in support of USSPACECOM’s mission to conduct operations in, from and to space while integrating space power into the support of First Air Force’s homeland defense mission.

“As USSPACECOM continues to achieve key milestones towards reaching Full Operational Capability, the designation of AFSPACE and the realignment of Human Space Flight Support activities under AFSPACE demonstrates the rapid pace at which the command and components are moving to provide a safe and secure space environment,” said U.S. Army Gen. James H. Dickinson, U.S. Space Command commander. “AFSPACE has achieved an Initial Operating Capability, and like USSPACECOM, is at a point where it can credibly claim to be organized and effective for employing our enduring, no-fail supporting functions to the joint force and civil partners.”

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. named First Air Force as the USSPACECOM air component in February 2021. Following that, Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command, established an Operational Planning Team to determine the resources required to meet the short and long-term demands for this new mission.

ACC is the force provider for AFSPACE, and existing Continental U.S. NORAD Region and Air Forces Northern roles, responsibilities and authorities.

On July 15, 2021, First Air Force, now AFSPACE, assumed the operational command and control of the Human Space Flight Support, or HSFS, mission, which was previously executed by the Combined Force Space Component Command at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California. This First Air Force mission is executed through its assigned Detachment 3 based at Patrick Space Force Base, Florida.

Det. 3, formerly commanded by Space Launch Delta 45, realigned under First Air Force during a redesignation and change of command ceremony held at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, also that day. Air Force Lt. Gen. Kirk Pierce, commander, First Air Force, Continental U.S. NORAD Region, AFNORTH, and now AFSPACE, affirmed his team’s commitment to USSPACECOM.

“Space-based capabilities enable virtually every element of our national power, including diplomatic, information, military and economic,” said Pierce. “It’s an honor to support that larger picture with our actions at a personal level. This includes our new responsibility to plan, train and execute worldwide rescue and recovery of NASA astronauts during contingency operations.”

Human Space Flight Support operations are conducted by the Department of Defense when requested by NASA, and validated by the DoD. These operations include the contingency search and rescue of NASA and NASA-sponsored astronauts.

For all crewed space flights, Det. 3 oversees the training and posturing of rescue forces on alert at Patrick Space Force Base, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Additionally, Det. 3 is responsible for coordinating astronaut rescue and recovery, contingency landing site support, payload security, medical support, coordination of airlift/sealift for contingency operations, as well as other support services required in the event of a spacecraft emergency.

Det. 3 has a long and distinguished history working closely with NASA to plan and coordinate DoD rescue, recovery, and retrieval support for their crewed space missions.

“It’s immensely satisfying to take another step forward in the larger leap in our role as the Air Force component to U.S. Space Command,” Pierce said. “The First Air Force team appreciates being a valued joint partner in the defense of the Homeland in the air and space domains.”

CONR-1 AF (AFNORTH and AFSPACE) Public Affairs