Sentinel Focus review held on Ramstein

by Marge McGlinn
480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va — The 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing prepared for its third examination of its global Air Force Distributed Common Ground System, also known as the Sentinel intelligence weapon system, including the 693rd ISR Group, here at Ramstein.

The review took place Aug. 22 to 26 at the 480th ISR Wing sites located in Germany, South Korea, California, Georgia, Hawaii and Virginia. Included in SF 10B will be Air National Guard partners in those same states as well as Indiana, Kansas and Massachusetts.

The five-day event, called Sentinel Focus 10B, gave the wing the opportunity to closely inspect its processes during real world operations. This was done with the assistance of national partners such as the Air National Guard, National Air and Space Intelligence Center, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and the 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing.

“This is our third hard stare at the Air Force DCGS weapon system,” said Col. Daniel R. Johnson, commander of the 480th ISR Wing. “We have already implemented some serious changes to increase our ability to produce higher confidence reporting.”

The event reviewed the technological flexibility, doctrine and employment of the weapon system in an effort to advance it with its Air National Guard partners, sister services, joint partners and coalition partners.

The event looked at 15 critical operational issues, of which five involved outside partners.

One issue explored the roles and responsibility of the Air National Guard crew positions to determine their effectiveness.

Another looked at the feasibility of collaboration efforts with Air Force Space Command to see if its assets will work operationally with the Sentinel Focus weapon system and if doing so will effect supporting combatant commanders. Also, the event explored the weapon system’s ability to transfer intelligence data to the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force.

In addition, the wing worked with the 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing to define areas where the two wings interact to develop and strengthen the relationship between Air Force DCGS and the medium altitude ISR community, which includes the MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1 Predator aircraft.

Another issue that was examined included looking at reporting processes with the 70th ISR Wing, Fort George G. Meade, Md., to determine how the 480th ISR Wing can better align itself with common reporting standards.

The 480th ISR Wing’s mission is to execute non-stop ISR operations for component and combatant commanders while fully participating in vital national cryptologic missions.

The wing won the 2009 Gen. George C. Kenney Award for lessons learned, which is jointly sponsored by the Air Force Association and the Air Force Studies and Analysis, Assessments and Lessons Learned directorate.

The award recognizes the most notable contribution to the Air Force mission in a given year through the lessons learned process and is named after an Air Force general who commanded allied air forces in the Southwest Pacific in World War II.
“I knew we were really hitting our stride when it was announced in June that the wing was awarded the General Kenney award for lessons learned,” said Colonel Johnson.

The next Sentinel Focus review takes place in the Spring of 2011.

Sentinel Focus is held around the world in every theater of operations, primarily to glean insight into ways to improve intelligence support to the warfighter.

The Sentinel produces intelligence information collected by the U-2 Dragon Lady, RQ-4 Global Hawk, MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1 Predator aircraft.