In 2006, the United States Air Forces Central Command (AFCENT) had a requirement to control airspace over a combat area for both military operations and civilian flights. Known as Air Battle Management (ABM) and Air Traffic Control (ATC), both environments regard flight safety as the highest priority. These activities are typically directed by air traffic controllers and air battle managers who operate from separate facilities near the front lines.
During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Booz Allen, under a contract with SPAWAR Systems Center Atlantic, developed an operations facility to co-locate these functions into an integrated air control system, a battlespace command-and-control center, or BC3. The benefits were clear—improved data sharing, greater protection for personnel and equipment, and improved supply-chain efficiencies.
Booz Allen designed a new structure for the combined operations, one that could deliver the required benefits and be assembled and tested stateside, then disassembled and relocated to the front lines. In 2008, Booz Allen was asked to design and field another BC3 for an additional combat area; this BC3 assumed two missions in one geographic area.
Two years later, in 2010, the environment changed again. We were now dealing with multiple conflicts over larger geographic areas, improved technologies—and had the opportunity to put fewer lives at risk by locating the control facility outside the combat zone.