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DMO marks achievement of another milestone

  • Published
  • By Mary McHale
  • AFNORTH Public Affairs
Air Forces Northern Distributed Mission Operations achieved yet another milestone Jan. 15 when they provided a vital, virtual link to training air battle managers in Hawaii.

For the air battle managers assigned to the 169th Air Control and Warning Squadron at Wheeler Army Airfield there, this was the first time they trained from home station, thanks to the capabilities AFNORTH DMO equipment and operators leveraged, according to DMO program manager Steve Boe.

How DMO operates is through a comprehensive - not to mention complex- set of interconnected, manned command, control, communications and computer equipment at homeland defense-oriented locations throughout the United States.

During this particular event, fighter pilots at the Distributed Training Operations Center in Des Moines, Iowa, flew missions as both friendly and hostile aircraft while the controllers in Hawaii practiced intercept procedures. The DTOC fact sheet noted the center hosts DMO events primarily for Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command pilots and lets pilots and controllers throughout the United States and the world to train together in a virtual world.

"This is a tremendous accomplishment for the 169th ACWS getting DMO on-line," Maj. Blane "Rook" Viloria, 169th ACWS director of operations. "The DMO capability will have a great impact for our members' training and for our unit's combat mission readiness as this will be the initial phase for us ramping up and meeting the future training requirements for the integration of the sensors and systems."

Boe, whose DMO program is part of the Assessments, Lessons Learned and Exercises directorate, said given work on this particular Pacific initiative was started in 2011, the actuality of it finally happening was most significant.

"As we continue to further develop and refine our DMO processes, the possibilities to exploit the training opportunities DMO affords are endless," he explained. "Now we have a brand new geographic entity involved in Pacific Command. That gives us the ability to practice our air defense techniques throughout the Continental United States. It's a huge accomplishment."

Without DMO involvement, controllers would have to travel to a temporary-duty location to train and maintain their currency. Dave Cronk, a DMO exercise director, said the controllers practice the exact same skills in the virtual environment as they would during a real-world mission.

Following each intercept, participants debrief about how the mission went. Cronk said the scenarios and assets presented can vary, according to what the participants want to train on. He said desired qualities of an effective controller include being able to anticipate and correctly interpret what they see on the radar screen, along with an ability to quickly respond to what they see.

"Controllers need skills to think three dimensionally and anticipate what actions they need to take before they need to take them," he said. "DMO enables us to practice that and have a constructive, critical review to hone those skills."