Offutt rebuilds command center

  • Published
  • By Charles J. Haymond, 55th Wing Public Affairs

VIDEO | 02:03 | 55th Wings New Command Post

Team Offutt members gathered to celebrate the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Installation Control Center and Air Combat Command’s sole nuclear command and control watch floor May 23, 2023, at Offutt Air Force Base.

The plan to rebuild the facility began in 2014, however, it was accelerated after the 2019 flood which destroyed more than 1.2 million square feet of office space across the southeastern part of base.

After being displaced, the ICC began to work in the basement of the Language Learning Center and later moved into a makeshift room that was less than 300 square feet inside the wing headquarters building.

“We were missing quite a bit of our systems; we had to get them set up and running,” said Senior Airman Chadwick Shinabargar, 55th Wing command post. “The alternate building we have, it is literally a dungeon, and it really has been a long process of recovering a lot of the capabilities we used to have.”

The development of the new state-of-the-art facility began in 2021. The facility spans 8,119 square feet. It cost approximately $20 million in construction and specialized equipment. Senior Master Sgt. Michaela Simms, 55th Wing command post superintendent, is happy to see the project completed and the new amenities available to her Airmen.

“As a command post superintendent, morale and welfare are some of my primary concerns,” Simms said.  “Knowing that starting in June, controllers will have a premier facility fitness center, restroom/shower, advanced technology, and of course windows, brings me much joy and peace. Our team is ecstatic about the new facility.”

Typically, for security requirements, a command post must ensure that classified systems cannot be seen or gained access to without approval. Most command posts are in a sensitive compartmented information facility or hardened facility, but this one has a unique feature.

“We’ll have windows,” said Senior Airman Andrew Otero, 55th command post junior emergency actions controller. “Depending on the shift I work, I’ll have a coffee and enjoy the sunrise or a sunset.”

The security of the command post was intentional in planning. Systems and furniture have been strategically positioned to prevent anyone from seeing the information on the screens since they are located on the second floor behind dark tinted glass.

The 55th Civil Engineer Squadron and 55th Cyber Squadron will help with the final touches needed to wrap up the project.

“It’s been a team effort across this entire wing, and we are just grateful for the support to bring us here, back to our permanent home,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Chou, 55th Wing chief of command and control operations.