Command Post: more than just the Giant Voice
By Senior Master Sgt. Jerry Simer, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post Superintendent
/ Published August 23, 2012
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo --
Have you ever wondered what the command post's function is on a day-to-day basis? For starters, there is far more to it than simply taking phone calls and making announcements on the base giant voice system.
The command post on every installation performs a unique function for the wing, and the roles and responsibilities of command post controllers vary greatly.These functions, as well as personnel assigned, are dependent on the MAJCOM, assets assigned, and mission.
Regardless of those things, the basics of a command post controller's responsibilities are the same: command and control. The command post's role in support of C2 is to alert, direct and report and is the wing commander's focal point for carrying out C2 of the assigned forces of the wing, in day-to-day operations, contingencies, all the way through times of war.
The command post can be compared to the human brain, which operates as the center of emotion and thinking, and as the brain works and sends out impulses, other organs respond. In a like manner, the command post is essentially the nerve center for the wing's operation.
As it works, support agencies respond by carrying out assigned tasks in support of the wing's mission. The mission here at Whiteman is a unique one as it encompasses both a conventional and nuclear role, which brings with it additional responsibilities for everyone, to include command post controllers.
In particular, the Nuclear C2 mission, better known as NC2, requires every controller to be thoroughly familiar with the actions directed by CJCS and USSTRATCOM Emergency Action Procedures.
These procedures allow for an assurance to USSTRATCOM that the required actions will be taken within minimal preset times for employment of assigned weapon systems. All of these actions are tracked and reported by command post controllers using NC2 systems to report to Higher Headquarters, keeping the decision makers aware of the status of resources and assets required to protect our nation's interests.
Prior to controllers being certified, there is a rigorous 120-day training schedule which immerses them in CJCS and USSTRATCOM Emergency Action Procedures as well as local operating procedures.
These procedures center largely around NC2 actions in the execution phases of Emergency War Orders and the direction of C2 actions supporting Emergency Plans, Operations Orders, Operations Plans, relaying NC2 instructions for the launch, execution, diversion, recall, recovery, recycle, and reconstitution of forces.
Once all training is complete, each controller is required to have a personal interview with the Wing Commander for certification and is certified only after they have demonstrated their ability to carry out their assigned responsibilities.
On any given day command post controllers receive, process, and take action on emergency action messages affecting assigned forces. These messages may direct actions allowing for security posturing, placing our forces in the best position to survive an attack and then respond in kind.
Additionally, a major portion of daily duties involves coordinating with internal and external agencies for the wing's flying activities and any other activity affecting resources and personnel.
Because of the command post's involvement in every aspect of the wing's mission, one can see why it is absolutely imperative that accurate, timely, and relative information is provided each and every time.
The wing commander has an awesome responsibility over his assigned forces, and the command post plays an integral role in helping him carry out those duties.
As the wing commander's executive C2 agent, the command post is vital to the operation of the wing and a critical component for nuclear deterrence and global power for the United States of America.