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USAF Fact Sheet
Air Force Weather Agency
Air Force Weather Agency is a field operating agency of the Headquarters U.S. Air Force Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Air and Space Operations, Weather Directorate (AF/XOW). It was formed October 15, 1997, and is located at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.
The Air Force Weather Agency mission is to enhance our nation's combat capability by arming our forces with quality weather and space products, training, equipment and communications -- anytime, anywhere.
AFWA staff functions support the fielding of well-equipped, well-trained Air Force weather units prepared to deliver timely, accurate, reliable weather products. The agency ensures that Air Force weather procedures, practices and equipment are standardized to the degree practical, while leaving units with sufficient flexibility to support a diverse, worldwide customer base. The agency develops issues and evaluates standardized procedures for all Air Force weather units. The staff also provides specialized training, primarily relating to the science of meteorology, and provides technical assistance as required by Air Force and Army customers. Another agency mission is to field and sustain standard, interoperable and integrated Air Force weather systems. Finally, the agency plans and arranges for standard, end-to-end communications to meet Air Force weather needs.
AFWA's production operation involves gathering over 140,000 weather reports per day from conventional meteorological sources throughout the world and relaying them to AFWA by the Automated Weather Network (AWN). By combining these data with information available from military and civilian meteorological satellites, AFWA constructs a real-time, integrated environmental database. A series of scientific computer programs model the existing atmosphere and project changes. These basic meteorological tools are available to technicians for application to specific aerospace environmental problems encountered by operational personnel.
AFWA is not an automated production center. It is a computer-based operation heavily reliant on the interaction between people and computers to produce accurate and complete services in support of operational requirements. AFWA products and services support the war fighter, the base or post weather station, national programs, command and control agencies and systems, and other validated operational and planning functions. As new requirements emerge, AFWA applies information from the central database to the task. This process of centralized environmental support has proven cost effective and efficient.
AFWA exchanges data and meteorological products with the National Weather Service and the Naval Oceanography Command. AFWA is the backup agency for two National Weather Service centers. Support to the National Meteorological Center includes products transmitted on the Digital Facsimile (DIFAX) circuit and aviation winds for civilian users. Support to the National Severe Storms Forecast Center includes severe weather forecasts to the civilian community.
Products and services provided by AFWA include meteorological advice; aviation, terminal and target forecasts; prediction of severe weather; automated flight planning; exercise and special mission support; and computations for ballistic missile systems, as well as the collection and dissemination of environmental data.
Personnel and Resources
AFWA is organized into a headquarters element with two subordinate centers. Nearly 574 of the agency's 729 members are located at Offutt AFB, Neb.
The Operations Directorate directs agency scheduling and production of quality, worldwide, mission-tailored, weather products 24-hours a day to meet the requirements of the National Command Authorities, Department of Defense, unified commands, combat forces of the Air Force and Army, and national programs controlled by the Secretary of the Air Force.
The Communications and Information Directorate manages worldwide weather communications systems for Air Force Weather, operates headquarters data processing resources, develops and maintains software running on headquarters computer systems, and establishes and oversees information management policies and practices across AFWA.
The Plans and Programs Directorate serves as the focal point for planning and program management within the agency.
The Air and Space Sciences Directorate oversees and directs aerospace sciences activities to enhance Air Force Weather operations and implements new meteorological capabilities and products based on operational requirements. The Air and Space Sciences Directorate also coordinates training initiatives and training programs.
Detachment 7, located at Tinker AFB, Okla., directs the real-time global collection of weather data used to construct the world's most comprehensive environmental database, and processes and distributes the resulting information to combat and combat support organizations of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and other federal agencies.
Air Force Combat Climatology Center and its Operating Location A are located at Asheville North Carolina. The AFCCC uses historical weather data to develop and produce special weather-impact information used in planning and executing DOD worldwide military operations and in engineering weapon system design and employment.
Air Force Combat Weather Center develops, evaluates and implements new tactics, techniques, procedures and technologies across Air Force Weather to enhance the effectiveness of Air Force, Army, special forces, joint and combined operations.
Weather and warfare have been linked together throughout our history. From Washington at Valley Forge, to the relief efforts of Rwanda, the evolution of Air Force Weather is a journey through technology.
Weather services have been vitally important during times of war and contingencies. World War I demonstrated the need for and potential of a military weather service. The World War II-era accomplishments include critical weather forecasts for the D-Day invasion and first atomic bomb mission. Additionally, the weather service played a major role in the Berlin Airlift of 1948 and 1949. Weather forecasters prepared forecasts for daily operations for this effort, which was frequently hampered by low clouds, fog, freezing rain, turbulence and ice.
Weather personnel entered the combat zone of Korea in 1950, providing extensive weather support to United Nations air and ground forces. The following Vietnam and post-Vietnam eras brought about the initiation of new services and modernization of equipment. In 1965, the Air Force launched its first Defense Meteorological Satellite; inaugurated a Solar Observing and Forecasting Network; and implemented a high speed Automated Weather Network linking two overseas weather central points with the Air Force Global Weather Central at Offutt AFB. In 1975 and 1978, respectively, Air Force Weather started operating new solar optical and radio telescopes at its solar observatories.
Air Force Weather Agency was formed on Oct. 15, 1997, as part of a reengineering effort to streamline and improve the structure of the former Air Weather Service. This was a result of the realignment of Air Weather Service headquarters staff from Scott AFB, Ill. and the former Air Force Global Weather Center, DOD's primary centralized weather production facility at Offutt.
POINT OF CONTACT
Air Force Weather Agency, Public Affairs Office; 106 Peacekeeper Dr., Ste 2NE; Offutt AFB, NE 68113-4039; DSN 272-8166 or (402) 232-8166.