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Davis-Monthan getting combined air operations center

10/24/2005 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz -- The Air Force broke ground on a new combined air operations center here.

There was the sound of sledgehammers swinging when workers started the conversion of an old ground-launched cruise-missile facility into the new Falconer CAOC facility Oct. 17.

The new operations center -- scheduled to open in July 2006 -- will be the only “continuously operational” facility in the United States and one of only five Falconer CAOC weapon systems used to support combatant commanders worldwide.

The CAOC -- an $11.35 million construction project -- is part of an Air Force vision to create warfighting headquarters to provide focused and dedicated support to combatant commanders. As a major component of this new concept, CAOC “crewmembers” team with Air Force forces and commander’s personal staffs to meet the desired objectives.

“The capabilities offered by these state-of-the-art facilities are limitless,” said Col. Tim Vigil, 12th Air Force special assistant for warfighter headquarters transformation.

Even before the completion of this new facility, the Air Force is looking for emerging technologies and additional missions for the center, the colonel said.

“Truly, these five Falconer CAOCs will provide the Air Force, it’s supported combatant commands and the U.S. itself, with an amazing array of command and control capabilities,” he said.

The CAOC staff develops the strategy, plans and processes to successfully employ air, space and information operations forces to achieve desired effects in support of joint forces commander theater-wide objectives.

The new facility will serve as the command and control hub for U.S. South Air Force, renamed Air Force South, which serves as the air and space component to U.S. Southern Command. The command is responsible for U.S. military operations in the Caribbean and Central and South America.

When completed, the new center will link to the other four Falconers around the globe. Within this constellation of command and control centers, any one of the centers can assume the duties and responsibilities should something occur to interfere with the daily operations of any other CAOC.

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