Board of Dir.
Serving the Present... Remembering the Past...
Air Force Weather
Supporting AFW Reengineering
Col Charles W. French, AFWA Commander
In the midst of our third year as the Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA; headquartered at Offutt AFB, Nebraska) and of providing support to Air Force Weather reengineering, we continue to move closer to reaching the goal of a smarter, leaner, more efficient weather force. Many initiatives are taking place this year at AFWA that will bring AFW closer to completing the reengineering goals.
AFWA is developing new systems and programs to optimize weather
support to the warfighters. One
system that is fundamentally essential to AFW reengineering is the Operational
Weather Squadron Production System, Phase II, or OPS-II.
The OPS-II is the central forecast production system for our nine
regional operational weather squadrons. The program integrates commercial
hardware and software products into one efficient forecast system. Once
installed, the OWS is able to declare initial operational capability and
begin providing around-the-clock weather support to its area of responsibility.
Another system currently in development at AFWA is the Automated
Observing System, or AOS. This system collects existing sensor digital data output from
multiple environmental parameters — pressure, temperature, winds,
clouds, etc., — and integrates the sensor data into one user-friendly
display. This integrated output is transmitted to the responsible OWS
for near-continuous monitoring of weather conditions at remote locations.
The AOS is currently fielded at 50 locations worldwide, with another
80 locations scheduled to receive AOS this year.
The AOS gives OWS the ability to monitor environmental conditions,
in near real-time, at remote locations — airfields, ranges, and
missile alert facilities. In particular, AOS assists OWSs in executing
resource protection responsibilities at remote-locations during non-duty
Not only are we developing new systems, our weather support mission
has also expanded. AFWA assumed responsibility of the 55th Space Weather
Squadron in October of last year. During the next year, the mission of
providing space weather analyses and forecasts will transfer (back) from
55 SWXS to HQ AFWA. The mission
transfer will take place in six phases, in which HQ AFWA takes on more
responsibility (i.e., more production) with each phase.
The first phase begins in June 2000, and the transfer is scheduled
for completion by July 2001. This effort is part of the AFW Reengineering effort in which
HQ AFWA serves as a strategic center for weather services, providing operational
weather squadrons, combat weather teams, and other Department of Defense
customers a complete suite of weather support products. Integrating space
weather operations into AFWA will allow a single strategic center to provide
customers with the integrated "mud to the sun" characterization
of the atmosphere.
The AFWA is fundamentally involved in the concepts for Air Force
Weather. The development,
coordination and integration of these various concepts will be crucial
to our success in the future. Recently,
AFWA hosted meetings and participated in the AFW Policy and Procedures
Internal Process Team. The
team drafted and finalized the Reengineered AFW Support Concept of Operations
and suggested conceptual changes for the AFW Executive Council’s
review/approval. The CONOPS
is the framework execution of the mission.
It describes the basis for development of AF guidance (AFW publications),
organizational alignment, AFW career progression, technology, and training
(including initial skills, on the job training, career development courses,
and recurring training) for reengineered AFW operations.
The objectives of the CONOPS are to focus operations on customer
mission requirements, improve training and readiness, and achieve the
greatest efficiencies and effectiveness possible.
has also reengineered the AFW Standardization and Evaluation Program to
place the responsibility for evaluating Weather Flights/ Detachments with
the major commands, and the responsibility of evaluating OWSs and AFW
Strategic Centers with AFWA. We're developing new checklists, Standard
Approach For Evaluators (SAFE) Lists, and check rides, based upon the
new AF instructions. Since January, we've accompanied the MAJCOMs on eight
AFWA continues to pursue every avenue to optimize the successful
reengineering of Air Force Weather. Our airmen continue to perform their
worldwide mission with great pride and professionalism. It is their great
motivation and enthusiasm that are making reengineering a success —critical
to the future of Air Force Weather.