Greene County News
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — The 88th Air Base Wing’s Wartime/Contingency Planning Branch at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base provides overarching program management and administrative oversight for the Crisis Action Team operations, standing ready to serve the installation’s contingency support needs at a moment’s notice.
The branch is also responsible for the management of several other important non-emergency programs which can impact the base.
According to Tim Troutman, CAT manager, the CAT provides the installation commander with the Command, Control, Communications and Computer capability, also known as C4, for managing and directing installation actions during man-made or natural disasters, increased force protection conditions, enhanced readiness, crisis and contingencies or any other situation deemed necessary.
“During normal duty hours, we keep the CAT in a warm readiness status,” Troutman said. “At this level of readiness, and if anything pops up, we are ready to take over and handle that.”
The “anything” Troutman refers to includes support of deployment operations, major accident response needs, force protection condition changes directed locally or by higher headquarters, natural disasters, defense support to civil authorities and much more.
Troutman said that the goal of the CAT is to minimize the impact on peacetime mission activities of the base which must continue during any given crisis and to focus on event activities on 48 to 72 hours out while anticipating needs beyond the tactical and operational levels.
While performing these tasks, the CAT interfaces with the installation’s Emergency Operations Center, the Deployment Control Center, along with group and unit control centers located throughout the installation. It also has to provide appropriate coordination to the Air Force Materiel Command’s Crisis Action Team and well as the AFMC Command Center, and Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Battle Staff.
To facilitate this, the CAT provides the commander and the CAT staff with all of the communications assets, both secured and unsecured, needed for any type of emergency or contingency event.
Another facet of the branch’s responsibility lies in the four-fold management of the installation’s bed-down program, the continuity of operations program or COOP, critical asset risk management and support and contingency plans management.
Each node is a vital link in the continued successful operation of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base regardless of the event which might render it otherwise and Paul Brough, COOP manager, is tasked to ensure those links are strong.
Brough stated that the Bed-down Program, potentially the most visible program, which provides for the temporary or permanent relocation of another organization to Wright-Patt, is very complicated and involves a lot of steps and coordination when being utilized.
“Some aviation assets have come in here in recent years to use the base as a site to fly out from to meet training requirements and to perform real-world alert missions from for several days,” Brough said of examples of temporary bed-down activities.
Kraig Bradford, the base International Treaties Compliance officer, oversees a portion of the branch’s programs which many don’t realize the base has a stake in. In fact, this mission supports the U.S. Department of State activities involving two international treaties, the Open Skies Treaty and the Chemical Weapons Convention.
OST, according to the Department of State, establishes a regime of unarmed aerial observation flights over the territories of its signatories and is “designed to enhance mutual understanding and confidence by giving all participants, regardless of size, a direct role in gathering information through aerial imaging on military forces and activities of concern to them.”
The CWC treaty prohibits the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and a compliance visit can involve more than a hundred people over the course of several days.
The complexities associated with coordinating all local aspects of a treaty compliance visit, as well as dealing with representatives of a foreign government, can be many.
“The title of our branch is Wartime/Contingency Planning,” Eugene Noble, branch chief, said of his organization and its team. “It takes every integral piece to make it all come together. We’re here for the Wing commander, and the leadership staff, and we are the central communications hub for all of them.”
Story courtesy of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
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