OTIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. - The 102nd Intelligence Wing officially marked the initial operating capability (IOC) of the 102nd Intelligence Group’s $1.8 million Distributed Ground Station (DGS) facility with a ribbon cutting ceremony Nov. 6, 2009.
Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter, Massachusetts National Guard Adjutant General, presided over the event which was attended by Maj. Gen. Michael Akey, Massachusetts Air National Guard Commander, Col. Anthony Schiavi, 102nd Intelligence Wing Commander, Col. David DeNofrio, 950th Electronic Systems Group Commander as well as elected officials and community leaders.
“With each change in unit designation and mission, and the arrival of new and more advanced aircraft; in each era of its existence, Otis Air National Guard Base has been on the cutting edge of America’s air defense system,” said Carter. “So it’s really not remarkable that we gather here today to acknowledge the beginning of a new mission for Otis and a new era for the 102nd Intelligence Wing.”
The intelligence facility is part of the Air Force's larger network-centric Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS) of ground stations, distributed sites, collaborative work centers, and remote sites that produce strategic, operational, and tactical intelligence supporting combat operations.
“This interim facility will allow intelligence analysts to execute their wartime mission while awaiting construction of the new facility,” said Col. James LeFavor, 102nd Intelligence Group Commander.
The permanent, $14.4 million, 33,000 square-foot facility is scheduled to be operational in 2011 and will allow the intelligence group to perform the full range of its mission.
The Air Force DCGS is a weapon system that provides multi-discipline Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) decision superiority information to U.S., allied, coalition military forces, government agencies, and emergency first-responders.
“This is a world-class weapons system,” said DeNofrio. “There is no other Air Force, service or combat support agency that has anything that can hold a candle to what is in front of you.”
The 950th ELSG, based at Hanscom AFB, Mass., was responsible for developing, acquiring, and integrating the highly-classified technologies behind the weapons system.
Otis intelligence analysts have been performing the DGS mission at other locations worldwide since 2008. With the addition of this facility, those same Guardsmen will now be able to support the fight on terrorism from their home state of Massachusetts.
The new Otis facility is dubbed DGS-Massachusetts and is the eleventh such location to commence operations – joining five active duty and five Air National Guard sites within the Air Force. Once the permanent facility is completed, Otis will become the third Air National Guard site (after Kansas and Indiana) to operate a full range DGS.
Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, the official party and more than 100 Otis personnel attended a ground breaking ceremony at the future site of the permanent DGS facility.
“With the support of our federal and state civilian and military leadership, we were fortunate to secure the funding to build this state-of-the-art intelligence facility,” said Schiavi. The new facility will be energy efficient and environmentally compliant.
In an effort to facilitate the construction process, Schiavi, a licensed heavy equipment operator, climbed into an excavator and began demolishing an old security forces operations center where the new intelligence center will be located.