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11 SWS enhances missile warning mission

The 11th Space Warning Squadron held its Change of Command ceremony Thursday at the 50th Space Wing headquarters building at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo.  Col. Michael Jackson, 460th Operations Group commander, presided over the ceremony where Lt. Col. Thomas Colvin relinquished command to Lt. Col. Brent Morris. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Dennis Rogers)

The 11th Space Warning Squadron held its Change of Command ceremony at the 50th Space Wing headquarters building at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. Col. Michael Jackson, 460th Operations Group commander, presided over the ceremony where Lt. Col. Thomas Colvin relinquished command to Lt. Col. Brent Morris. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Dennis Rogers)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Buckley Air Force Base's missile warning mission is one of the most important missions in the world today. The men and women of the 460th Operations Group work continually to ensure the safety of the U.S., its allies and deployed forces overseas. But they don't do it alone.

The 11th Space Warning Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, is responsible for the systems, operations and training for the highly elliptical orbit satellites that are part of that mission. Like the 2nd Space Warning Squadron, the main mission of the 11th SWS is to provide U.S. and allied forces worldwide with missile warning, battle space awareness, technical intelligence, and missile defense data at all times.

Missile warning is not only essential, it is also timely, and the squadron has excelled by successfully getting HEO-3 online and operational nearly two years ahead of schedule, ensuring the capability of the Space-Based Infrared System. The only thing higher than the amount of data they analyze is the level of pride their leadership has for them.

"Our professionals are not afraid to fail and choose to succeed," said Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Cumming, 11th SWS superintendent. "They inspire me every day to continue to serve and I am proud to be part of a professional organization with Airmen that execute the mission with pride and dedication."

The squadron operates the first-ever SBIRS taskable HEO payload, a capability that is essential to accomplishing their missile warning mission.

"We are able to task our assets to anywhere in the world, basically," Cumming said. "We're the first ones to be able to do that."

Aside from partnering with the 460th OG, the 11th SWS also provides vital data to a number of outside agencies. That data can be used to extract detailed information to assist with combating enemy weapons systems, giving increased situational awareness and warning to warfighters all over the world. However, their most important mission remains accurate missile warning for the U.S. and its allies.

Lt. Col. Brent Morris, 11th SWS commander, says that he is proud of his squadron for accomplishing that mission day in and day out.

"I have the privilege of leading a great group of people who consistently bring their 'A-game'," Morris said. "The Air Force, and the nation, place a tremendous amount of trust and responsibility in the hands of airmen 1st class, senior airman and lieutenants to ultimately provide strategic missile warning to the President. That trust is well placed because our people work very hard, day in and day out, to be the best at what they do, and they are."

Although currently part of the 50th Space Wing at Schriever AFB, the 11th SWS is set to transition to Buckley AFB next summer and become the 11th Space Exploitation Squadron. Their mission focus will then shift from missile warning to battlespace awareness and technical intelligence as part of the 460th Space Wing.

"The 11th SWS will move to Buckley AFB sometime during the summer of 2016," Morris said. "It's an exciting and very busy time as we, first and foremost, continue to provide critical missile warning data to the warfighter, support SBIRS Block 10 integration, develop HEO-3 tactics, and plan the movement of the squadron."
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