Putting heads up, downrange

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt Aries D. Early
  • 13th Air Force Public Affairs
With his last deployment to an undisclosed location in southwest Asia still fresh in his mind, TSgt. Brian Little, 13th Air Force's Communications and Information directorate senior operations controller, didn't shy away from the opportunity to step back up to the plate for Team Hickam.

At the request of U.S. Air Forces Central (AFCENT) Communications and Information directorate, TSgt Little was sent back to their Combined Air and Space Operations Center August 28, to install and configure a heads up display (HUD) similar to the HUD developed and used by 13 AF's AFFOR Communications Control Center (ACCC) to track communications events in the PACAF theater.

A communication event is any outage or degradation in communication services.

TSgt Little came up with a plan of action and briefed key AFCENT leadership on the capabilities of the HUD as well as how the tool will improve AFCENT/ACCC's ability to track vital communication events in their AOR. Col. Amando E. Gavino, Director of AFCENT Communications and Information, sat in on one of TSgt Little's briefings and looked forward to seeing his ideas put to work.

"TSgt Little was able to help us quickly reconfigure the ACCC HUD for use in the AFCENT AOR and tailor our business processes to leverage the new capabilities that it brings," noted Col. Gavino. "His contributions will pay dividends here for years to come."

Prior to the HUD, the unit used spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations to track and brief communication events.

TSgt Little worked with Capt. Nickolas Thompson, Officer-in-charge of AFCENT/ACCC, and MSgt Kevin Samson, Non-Commissioned Officer-in-charge, to define specific objectives, further develop the plan of attack and deliver a customized AFCENT HUD.

"After completing a 365-day [tour] to AFCENT ACCC in 2008, I knew the challenges for providing accurate and timely information to the A6 [Communications and Information directorate]," commented TSgt Little.

TSgt Little led a team of technicians and software engineers through the task of tailoring and installing the AFCENT-specific software package. Little didn't stop there. Twenty other sites throughout the AFCENT AOR would be using this system, so he trained an additional 10 people giving them the ability to effectively guide 100,000 Department of Defense personnel in the proper use of the system.

The HUD provided AFCENT, Central Command and Theater Network Center Central a real-time depiction of communication events throughout the AOR. This was the first time AFCENT had this capability.

"It was rewarding to work with the AFCENT team to provide a theater first; real-time event tracking of theater incidents," said Little. "I feel we enhanced AFCENT's capabilities by providing a tool that will assist with timely theater situational awareness of communication outages and network issues."

The customized event tracking tool now presents a consolidated view of events, assists with time-critical communication updates and allows bases to report and input directly into the HUD for theater-wide viewing effectively reducing processing time by 75 percent. It also decreases annual man-hours needed to track these events by 720 hours.

Col. Ronald C. Cournoyer, 13AF Director, Communications & Information, may have summed it up best by saying, "We're doing some creative things to increase situational awareness and understanding of our cyberspace capabilities across the PACAF theater. I'm thrilled that TSgt Little could extend our 13 AF ACCC HUD operations in support of the AFCENT AOR as well. I'm proud to serve with such impressive Airmen who are delivering valuable expertise, new processes, and tools to ensure we continue to Fly, Fight and Win!"