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AFSATCOM Operations

The Air Force Communications Command (AFCC) controls system communications as directed by the AFSATCOM program management directive (PMD). Figure 7-1 shows the hierarchy of control elements as follows:

  • System operational management office (OMO).
  • Master control center (MCC).
  • Primary control center (PCC).
  • Network control element (NCE).

The AFSATCOM control objectives--

  • Provide the operator/user with communications with a minimum of control.
  • Schedule satellite accesses in keeping with current system limitations, equipment constraints, and validated priorities.
  • Prevent users from interfering with each other and/or disrupting the integrity of the system.
  • Manage the number and power of satellite accesses ensuring sufficient downlink power margin to those users authorized to operate.
  • Provide a control subsystem with enough equipment to monitor satellite communication transponder operations and to recognize and assist with operational or technical system problems.
  • Provide high priority users reliable communications during crisis or contingencies.

The Chief of Staff, United States Air Force (CSAF) is the executive agent for the management and control of AFSATCOM. The Strategic Communications Division (SCD) is designated the AFSATCOM operational manager for the commander, AFCC. The SCD manages the AFSATCOM satellite system on a day-to-day basis, interacting directly with the Navy telecommunications command (NAVTELCOM) on control procedures involving both services.

Access requests should be submitted to the appropriate PCC at least 14 days before the requested start time of the access. If a ground entry point (GEP) (AN/FSC-82) is part of the access, an additional 14 days are required for coordination. PCCs normally begin preparing access schedules 30 days in advance to allow for changing user requirements. Routine access requests must be submitted between 14 and 30 days before requested access start time. Access request may be submitted earlier if lead-time is required for host nation frequency approval. Frequency approval should be requested for all AFSATCOM frequencies in the operating area.

AFSATCOM access request format. The AFSATCOM access request has two parts. Part 1 is used for general information required to coordinate the access: times, dates, locations, points of contact, narrow or wideband transponder use, power, and bandwidth. Part 2 is used for GEP (AN/FSC-82) access. First time requests from Category 1 users and all requests from Category 2 must contain Parts 1 and 2. To request changes or extensions, use only the parts containing changed information.

b. Access request addressees. The access request should be addressed to the PCC controlling the desired satellite. All access requests should also inform the remaining PCCs, the MCC, and the OMO. If the request is for a priority 4 or higher, JCS/C3SDS must also be included as an information addressee. Requests which include requirements using a GEP should also inform that agency and their intermediate headquarters.

The supported unified or specified command for all supporting and component commands validates, consolidates, and submits satellite access requests for JCS-named, -coordinated, and -directed exercises. (See JCS Publication 2.) Heavy exercise communications traffic causes increased loading of the AFSATCOM system. Before a scheduled exercise, the exercise office of primary responsibility (OPR) notifies the MCC of the exercise scheduled time frame, geographical scope, and of the expected AFSATCOM channel requirements. This information should arrive at the MCC at least 45 days before the exercise start time. If military satellite communications (MILSATCOM) channels are unavailable to support all exercise requirements, the sponsoring CINC prioritizes and recommends allocation of the approved exercise satellite accesses in support of exercises in the CINCs area of responsibility (AOR). Requests for satellite access for unit or major command exercise communications (not in support of JCS-directed or JCS-coordinated exercises) should continue to be coordinated directly between the requestor and the PCC unless otherwise directed by the theater CINC. Guidance for submitting JCS-named exercise satellite access requests as provided by the various CINCs follows:

USCINCEUR. To obtain UHF SATCOM support for exercises within the European theater, supporting units submit access requests through CINCUSAREUR Heidelberg GE//AEAIM-PA-PE//: AUTOVON 370-6868/6646. The USCINCEUR component commands review, validate, and consolidate all UHF SATCOM access requirements for their subordinate command, and submit the request to USCINCEUR Vaihingen GE//C3S-TSC//. AUTOVON is 430-8484/5416 or Secure 6416, drop 6.

USCINCCENT. To obtain UHF SATCOM support for exercises within USCENTCOMs AOR, supporting components submit access requests to USCENTCOM components commands as follows:

  • Any Army component: COMUSARCENT Fort McPherson GA//AFRD-CE//; AUTOVON 588-4825/4928.
  • Any special operations component: SOCCENT MacDill AFB FL//SOCJ6//; AUTOVON 968-6256.

USCENTCOM component commands review, validate, and consolidate all access requirements and submit them to USCINCCENT MacDill AFB FL//CCJ6-CM//; AUTOVON 968-6600, Secure 9163.

USCINCPAC. To obtain UHF SATCOM support for exercises within the Pacific theater, supporting units submit access requests to USCINCPAC component or subordinate unified commands as follows:

  • Army units (exclusive of Korea and Japan forces): CDR WESTCOM Fort Shafter, Hawaii.
  • US Forces in Korea: COMUSKOREA Seoul KOR//SJ-OPO//.
  • US Forces in Japan: COMUSJAPAN Yokota AB JA//C3S//.

The component commands or subordinate unified commands review, validate, and consolidate all UHF SATCOM access requirements for their units. They submit these requests to USCINCPAC Honolulu HI//C3S//about 30 days before the exercise starts. This allows enough time for coordination. POC AUTOVON 477-6715/6644.

USCINCLANT. To obtain UHF SATCOM support for exercises within USCINCLANTs AOR, subordinate forces submit access requests to USCINCLANT component commands as follows:

  • Special operations forces: COMSOCLANT Fort Bragg NC//36//; AUTOVON 236-2213.
  • Army forces: CINCARLANT Fort McPherson GA//AFCE-PR//; AUTOVON 588-4129/2239.

USCINCLANT components, Joint Headquarters (CJTF/COMUSFORCTRY), and sub-unified commands (COMICEDEFOR, COMUSFORAZ, COMUSFORCARIB, COMSOCLANT) collect, consolidate, review, and validate exercise AFSATCOM access requirements and submit them as a single package to USCINCLANT Norfolk VA//J62l//; AUTOVON 564-6761.

    Components and supporting commands/agencies provide an initial estimate of their access requirements during the initial planning conference.

    USCINCSO/SCJ6-0 consolidates all requirements and makes initial coordination with the AFSATCOM management office appropriate PCC during the planning process.

    Components and supporting commands provide a final statement of their requirements. It is prepared in the AFSATCOM access request format and sent to USCINCSO Quarry Heights PN//SCJ6-0//, AUTOVON 313-282-3252, no later than 60 days before the access start time.

USCINCSO. USCINCSO/SCJ6-0 acts as the central point for all AFSATCOM accesses for any USCINCSO sponsored, JCS-directed, or JCS-coordinated exercise within CINCSO AOR. USCINCSO/SCJ6-0 prioritizes and consolidates requirements and forwards them to the appropriate PCC.

USCINCSPACE. When CINCSPACE has been designated as the sponsoring CINC for JCS-directed or JCS-coordinated exercises, CINCSPACE/J3Z, AUTOVON 692-2613, acts as the focal point for exercise support satellite access requests. Military satellite requirements in support of the exercises are directed to CINCSPACE Peterson AFB CO//J3Z//. CINCSPACE/J3Z reviews, validates, and consolidates all access requirements and submits the request to the appropriate PCC. Approved access requests are then assigned to the supporting commands and units based on CINCSPACE determined priorities.

An emergency/short notice access can be coordinated by telephone. These will be accepted if a properly formatted message traffic follow-up is submitted within 24 hours of the initial telephone access approval.

Sources and Resources

  • FM 24-11 TACTICAL SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS, 20 September 1990




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Page last modified: 21-07-2011 13:03:46 ZULU