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Communications: the key to any mission

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jared Duhon
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The U.S. Air Force is the most powerful air, space and cyberspace program in the world.

To stay on top, fast and reliable communication is a must. If the computers, servers or radar systems ever go down, it cripples the ability of the Air Force to complete its mission of "Fly, Fight and Win."

"As network administrators, we maintain the bases servers by updates, patches and vulnerability management," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Muhr, 436th Communications Squadron network administrator NCO in charge. "The servers hold the base's files and shared drives, as well as connect to the Air Forces domain."

Network administration safeguards Dover Air Force Base's electronic information, while Air Traffic Controller and Landing Systems technicians ensure air traffic controllers, base operation and local weather services stay informed about the environment around them.

"ATCALS takes care of the AN/FMQ-19 weather system, which provides data for the base, the instrument landing system to help the aircraft land, tactical air navigation systems, as well as the communication lines for basic air traffic control, so base operations can talk to aircraft in the air and on the ground," said Tech. Sgt. Matthew Nell, 436th CS NCOIC airfield and radar. "Three in the morning, rain or snow we have to come in and fix the equipment."

With hardware still in mind, the backbone of electronic communication for the Air Force is maintained by client systems technicians.

"Computers and blackberries are what we do as client systems techs," said Senior Airman Bryan Sutton. "We ensure computers have the appropriate image or standard desktop setup. The hardware is configured correctly to the domain. Blackberries have to have the proper credentials to read and send secure emails."

With time and manning being at a premium, standardizing and lowering time spent on one task, such as paperwork, is important. CSTs help customers find ways to streamline their data processes.

"We have a few products we have developing to help improve the way work is done in the Air Force, such as our E-continuity and electronic record management," said Staff Sgt. Gregory Armstrong, 436th CS NCOIC knowledge operations management. "So far we have some products, such as the mobility folder, in play to reduce breaches of personnel identifiable information."

The paperless initiative drove the use of digital mobility folders said Staff Sgt. Danielle Conner, 436th Communication Squadron knowledge operations management.

"Mobility folders are now electronically done to eliminate the use of paper and standardize folders across the base," said Conner. "This also allows for unit deployment managers to receive alerts via email when someone is due for training and have instant access to information down range. This also allows for secure and fast transfer of information."

All of these different areas combine to make communications vital to the success, not only of Dover AFB, but the Air Force in general.

"The communication squadron provides a link to the Air Force," said Muhr. "This link gives organizations the flexibility to communicate information through multiple mediums. With information being the key to any mission...if there is no link, there is no mission."