SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- The Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command officially opened its newly renovated Surface Operations Center here January 10, 2020 with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The room has been under construction for the last six months.The newly renovated SOC is now home to SDDC's Future Operations and Current Operations divisions, with room for growth. All operational data funnels through the SOC before SDDC's Surface Warriors and commercial industry partners execute their missions."The SOC is the hub for all SDDC operations," said Maj. Mike Dembeck, Current Operations officer in charge. "So, things that the brigades are doing in their respective areas of responsibility, all of that data, all of those details of those operations, flow into the SOC, where it is then compiled and pushed out across the entire command."Personnel within the SOC perform comprehensive mission planning and oversee day-to-day operations, integrating, synchronizing and providing global deployment and distribution capabilities to deliver and sustain the Armed Forces in support of the Nation's objectives."The Surface Operations Center is the center of gravity for SDDC," said Maj. Gen. Stephen Farmen, SDDC commanding general. "Operations are about collaboration, pitching and catching and communicating amongst ourselves."The SOC's location within the U.S. Transportation Command building on Scott AFB enables increased synergy between SDDC and the other transportation component commands, resulting in improved support to the Joint Deployment and Distribution Enterprise."We are physically connected with the joint operations center, the global operations center at USTRANSCOM, which is vitally important for us to be able to work with Air Mobility Command, Military Sealift Command and USTRANSCOM," said Brandon Snyder, Future Operations deputy.
The new construction made room for future expansion and flexibility within the SOC. There are now additional workstations for use during exercises or real-world events."The stage is set for greater collaboration with other staff elements in a contingency type of environment," said Snyder.In addition to more workstations, Surface Warriors in the SOC are now using new hardware that allows them to display more information on more screens throughout the room."We have a better ability to display some of our products," said Dembeck. "Being able to display what we have on our computers creates a shared understanding."The renovated SOC provides the ability to maintain a better site picture and visibility of global operations to provide leaders with the decision space needed to react as events and operations are in execution."There's a lot going on in the world," said Farmen. "There's an expectation both inside and outside of the command that there's a world-class, first-rate Surface Operations Center that visualizes things across the globe which allows us to assess what's going on, presents options and decisions, analyzes risk and is able to present operations so the decision makers can make the right call."Although the SOC may look a little different, not much will change for the people who work in the SOC or for those they support."I'm not sure we are going to see much of a change just because we are already operating at a really high level," said Snyder. While being out of the SOC the last six months [during the renovation], we still executed at a really high level.During construction, the members of the operations center were dispersed across the building in numerous offices, yet their continuity of operations continued.Snyder said that while the SOC as an entity is important, "it's the people and the training and expertise that they have" that make operations successful. "The structure contributes to that, but it still comes down to the people," said Snyder.Due to their physical separation during the SOC renovation, the team used computer conferencing and incorporated additional synchronization meetings into their daily routines. An unintended effect of the displacement was increased synergy amongst the sections."The construction really forced current operations and future operations personnel to make a concerted effort to get up and go to where the other was working to have those discussions, whereas before we almost took it for granted that we were sitting in the same room," said Dembeck. "We had to make the deliberate choice to ensure we stayed integrated, and I think it helped strengthen a lot of the relationships between the two sections and will continue on now."Farmen expressed to members of SDDC during the ceremony that they are SDDC's strategic advantage."We must set the conditions to execute missions and operations to the highest standards," said Farmen. "Our new SDDC Surface Operations Center will allow us to do that."