Air National Guard E&I Team - saving U.S. Strategic Command millions
Offutt Air Force Base
/ Published April 29, 2016
April 29, 2016 -- OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Nebraska --
Select personnel from 15 Air National Guard Engineering and Installation organizations are either in place or will soon arrive at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. Before the next three years have passed, they will have installed more than 600 miles of cabling in support of the U.S. Strategic Command Command and Control facility construction project.
In September 2012, site preparation began for the $1.2 billion mega project. Planners discovered early on that using private contractors to perform E&I functions would be an expensive endeavor. Civilian contractors would require costly security escorts at all times, and expenses would soar even higher if around-the-clock work was required.
After careful analysis, Clyde Aune of the USSTRATCOM Program Management Office proposed enlisting the aid of U.S. Air Force National Guard E&I community to perform the work. He argued, “Utilizing military installers with security clearances eliminates the need for expensive security escorts required with civilian contractors. It also enables around-the-clock work and ‘on-the-fly’ changes without significant contract modifications. That sort of flexibility is priceless.” USSTRATCOM leadership agreed and adopted Aune’s plan.
E&I members from Mississippi, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Georgia, Tennessee, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Utah and Minnesota are already proving their value to the project. They have thus far completed the connection of 86 underground communications maintenance manholes across Offutt, and have installed fiber optic cabling, pull-boxes, and patch panels in each of USSTRATCOM’s 20 General Officer housing locations.
And it’s not just USSTRATCOM that is benefitting from this partnership. According to U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Tim Day of the E&I team, “This has been a great opportunity to hone our wartime skills in an operational environment. We don’t normally get a chance for this type of collaboration outside the theatre. The benefits to the E&I community have been incredible.”
Today, the team is engineering and installing premise wiring in the C2 facility itself. Once this work is complete, the facility will have a redundant, secure fiber and copper information technology systems backbone. This will not only enhance the Command’s nuclear deterrence capabilities, but will provide a modern enterprise network capable of supporting 16 other presidentially assigned missions and tasks. USSTRATCOM will also be able to provide reliable retransmission capabilities to U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command and other strategic forces.
USSTRATCOM conservatively estimates that the Air National Guard E&I team will save the Command $40 to $60 million in cost avoidance by the time the project is complete. When totaled, the length of cabling installed will be long enough to stretch from Omaha to Dallas. But most importantly, the team’s hard work and dedication will ensure that America has a strong, credible nuclear deterrent for decades to come.