Peterson AFB, Colo- How do you get all of the DoD satellite professionals to talk in one place? You hold a satellite Wideband Working group.
U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command have conducted satellite Wideband Working Groups for 20 years on behalf of U.S. Strategic Command and now U.S. Space Command. Although the different Combatant Commands host the working groups, with representatives from every service, SMDC provides the bulk of the events' logistical support.
WWGs usually have between 200 to 225 participants and are designed to improve satellite communications business processes and the SATCOM decision-making environment.
“By clearly outlining oversight, direction, and decision-making, the structure enables focusing of SATCOM operational management efforts,” said Derrick Richeson, a telecommunications specialist with the Satellite Operations Brigade’s Wideband Division at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.
“By improving information sharing, decentralizing decision making, and encouraging participation, the WWG facilitates identification, discussion, and resolution of SATCOM operational and operational support business issues.”
The group's focus on consistency in standards, policies, procedures, and standard operating procedures pertaining to planning, providing, and assessing wideband services. In addition, they assist with consistency of approach and commonality of terminology across the other WGs. Finally, the WWG provides a framework and process for collecting, validating, prioritizing, and addressing all SATCOM requirements, not just access requirements.
“But however much we’d like to believe that remote coordination and communication is easy, trust and personal relationships make everything work more smoothly, and maintaining those bonds helps smooth the inevitable issues that arise when one tries to do anything at that level of complexity,” said John Kirk, chief, Wideband Plans Division, USASMDC.
“While any given wideband working group is focused on a myriad of issues of the day – which could include anything from combatant command issues, to constellation re-optimization, to emerging technologies and programs – I believe the reason they’ve continued over the decades is that face-to-face collaboration, and dedicated time and space to work inter-personal and inter-organizational challenges, combined with the ability of this large community to disseminate and learn best practices, can’t easily be replaced.”
The purpose of WWGs is to integrate planning and synchronize operations, capabilities delivered by people working behind the scenes to enable joint communications that integrate the joint fight, providing a people-first forum to enable and perpetuate that delivery, said Kirk.
USSTRATCOM’s and USSC’s WWGs are primarily conducted in Colorado Springs, Colorado, but have also been conducted at Offutt, MacDill, and Los Angeles Air Force Bases.
COVID-19 cancelled last year’s WWG. This year’s will be conducted virtually in Colorado Springs in late July.