HomeNewsArticle Display

DSP Gala marks 40th Anniversary

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.--Maj. Gen. Michael J. Basla, vice commander of Air Force Space Command, was the keynote speaker at the 40th Anniversary of the Defense Support Program (DSPs) first satellite launch gala held by the 460th Space Wing on Nov. 6 2010.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman Manisha Vasquez)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.--Maj. Gen. Michael J. Basla, vice commander of Air Force Space Command, was the keynote speaker at the 40th Anniversary of the Defense Support Program (DSPs) first satellite launch gala held by the 460th Space Wing on Nov. 6 2010. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman Manisha Vasquez)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.--Maj. Gen. Michael J. Basla, vice commander of  Air Force Space Command and A1C John Draper, the youngest Airman assigned to the 2nd Space Warning Squadron at Buckley Air Force Base share the honors of cutting up the mock up of the Defense Support Program (DSP) cake during the 40th Anniversary Gala on Nov. 6 2010. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman Manisha Vasquez)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.--Maj. Gen. Michael J. Basla, vice commander of Air Force Space Command and A1C John Draper, the youngest Airman assigned to the 2nd Space Warning Squadron at Buckley Air Force Base share the honors of cutting up the mock up of the Defense Support Program (DSP) cake during the 40th Anniversary Gala on Nov. 6 2010. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman Manisha Vasquez)

Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. -- Forty years ago, Nov. 6, the first Air Force Defense Support Program Satellite roared into outer space from Cape Canaveral and became the bedrock of America's Silent Sentry against missile attack.
To celebrate the milestone, 350 defense contractors, military personnel, civilians and retirees who have worked on the system over the years gathered at the Denver Marriott, Denver Technological Center, to celebrate Saturday night in a special gala commemorating the event.
Maj. Gen. Michael J. Basla, vice commander, Air Force Space Command, was the keynote speaker at the gala.
"It wasn't until I was the Director for C4 Systems, Joint Task Force Southwest Asia in Saudi Arabia that I became aware of what DSP was all about. It was you who brought warnings to us in the theater. Your team is outstanding.
"There is a rich heritage in here tonight. It is humbling to sit with you," he said.
He related that he only came into the space business 14 months ago.
" Nobody on the face of the Earth can even come close to us in space," he said. "Space brings the fight to the war fighter and DSP has been doing that here for 40 years. You are truly space professionals, supporting the folks out at the end of the line and those in our country. What you are doing at Buckley has been connecting the dots to the war fighter for over 40 years."
During the Cold War everyone feared nuclear destruction with a war between the US and the Soviet Union. The best way to prevent that was from space and the result was the DSP program. The key to the success in the program was to evolve the DSP system and the eye of detection accuracy. "What sets this program apart is the ability to meet our nation's needs," he said. "It has proven its value at the tactical level with the detection and notification of SCUD missile launches."
The next speaker at the gala was Col. Roger Teague, the ISSW commander at the Space and Missile Center in Los Angeles. The ISSW has responsibility for the DSP sustainment and bringing the next generation of satellites known as the Space Based Infrared System on line.
"This is a tribute to a team of outstanding performers. DSP continues to serve as our sentinel. You all have blazed a trail of excellence and you continue to do so.
"As the threat evolved in the cold war so did DSP through its remarkable durability. It has operated way beyond its design life and continues to deliver missile warning to our war fighters."
Mr. Gabe A. Watson, vice president, Missile Defense and Warning Programs for Northrop Grumman Aerospace, stated the company takes tremendous pride in the success of the DSP program as the prime contractor for the whole life of the program.
"One of our (DSP) satellites is old enough to drink and vote," he quipped. "We've been asked to treat each and every DSP satellite as a critical care patient and wring every bit of life out of it we can. The longevity is the hallmark of the program."
DSP satellites have exceeded their design life by four times. That delivered 188 years of additional operational life to the program. The implications of that equate to another 20 to 30 additional satellites that would have been launched to meet the need.
"Our nation is well served by this system's longevity. The Silent Sentry continues today and at this moment. DSP speaks volumes to the history of space," said Mr. Watson.
Capping off the evening included 14 toasts to the flag, the president, mission partner countries, each of the service chiefs, deployed members, spouses and families and finally to the men and women of the DSP program. A special cake in the shape of a DSP satellite also made a grand entrance through a side door after an anomaly prevented the cake from entering the ballroom as planned.
"It was a great weekend," said Lt. Col. Jennifer Jenkins, 2nd Space Warning Squadron commander and mistress of ceremonies for the event. "We received much positive feedback that the alumni of the program are very happy to see their hard work in good hands. People had a wonderful time at each of the events. The gala reminded us all of the importance of the program and seemed to be the perfect cap to a special reunion weekend."
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.