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Nuclear treaty monitoring center activates five new squadrons

Col. Jennifer P. Sovada (right), the Air Force Technical Applications Center commander, looks on as Lt. Col. Ehren Carl delivers his first remarks after assuming command of AFTAC’s Technical Surveillance Squadron at Patrick AFB, Fla., Oct. 15, 2015. Carl is the first officer to assume command of one of five newly-formed squadrons at AFTAC. (U.S. Air Force photo/Matthew Jurgens)

Col. Jennifer P. Sovada (right), the Air Force Technical Applications Center commander, looks on as Lt. Col. Ehren Carl delivers his first remarks after assuming command of AFTAC’s Technical Surveillance Squadron at Patrick AFB, Fla., Oct. 15, 2015. Carl is the first officer to assume command of one of five newly-formed squadrons at AFTAC. (U.S. Air Force photo/Matthew Jurgens)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) -- The Air Force Technical Applications Center here recently activated five newly-designated squadrons, as the center takes steps to reorganize after becoming a wing equivalent in August 2014.

The ceremonies were historic events for the center, as well as for the Air Force, officials said. AFTAC was first organized in 1959 as the 1035th U.S. Air Force Field Activities Group. For the next several years, five technical operations squadrons carried out specific portions of the nuclear treaty monitoring mission. In 1980, the 1035th was renamed the Air Force Technical Applications Center and became a direct reporting unit to Headquarters Air Force. The squadrons were deactivated at that time.

Now that AFTAC falls under Air Combat Command and 25th Air Force, leadership reasoned that as a wing equivalent, the squadron structure should be revived and returned to AFTAC's unit composition.

Each new squadron held activation and assumption of command ceremonies, with field grade officers taking command of the squadrons.

Two of the squadrons will be aligned under AFTAC's Directorate of Operations; the remaining three will align under the Directorate of Mission Support.

The new squadrons and their associated missions are as follows:

-Technical Surveillance Squadron (TESS): This squadron, now commanded by Lt. Col. Ehren Carl, provides the nation with persistent surveillance to monitor treaty compliance through AFTAC's 24/7 operations center and the U.S. Atomic Energy Detection System to detect, identify and locate nuclear explosions underground, underwater, in the atmosphere, or in space.

-Technical Operations Squadron (TOPS): This squadron, led by Lt. Col. Robert Light, conducts Olympic Titan (mobile maritime platform foreign missile and space activity operations) and worldwide reconnaissance missions via technical sensors radar systems and aerial sampling operations to provide national authorities quality technical measurements to monitor treaty compliance involving weapons of mass destruction that threaten national security.

-Technical Support Squadron (TSUS): This squadron, under the command of Lt. Col. Dennis Uyechi, provides a broad range of world-class operations support to AFTAC, including intelligence support, training, standardization and evaluation, command staff and operations support to 17 worldwide locations, employing more than 1,000 personnel executing the center's nuclear treaty monitoring mission.

-Technical Sustainment Squadron (TSMS): This squadron, with Maj. Patrick Carpizo at the helm, empowers AFTAC with quality sustainment of the U.S. Atomic Energy Detection System and innovative global logistics and maintenance support to the Department of Defense's sole nuclear treaty monitoring mission.

-Cyber Capabilities Squadron (CYCS): This squadron, commanded by Lt. Col. Brian Hippel, provides AFTAC with decisive and assured cyberspace capabilities through innovative and robust global network architecture, data management, systems engineering, and integrations services.

"As an organization, AFTAC is changing rapidly, and we must embrace these changes to ensure our continued success," said Col. Jennifer P. Sovada, the AFTAC commander. "All of our officers taking command have the responsibility to lead and take care of their Airmen while still executing the mission. I have full confidence in their abilities to do just that and to carry on with the rich legacy of excellence at AFTAC."

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