Utah ANG Hosts Weapons System Council Conference
By Capt. Jennifer Eaton, Utah Air National Guard JFHQ/PAO
/ Published February 18, 2015
SALT LAKE CITY -- More than 30 representatives from the Air Force intelligence community attended a Weapons System Council Conference hosted by the 169th Intelligence Squadron at Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base, February 3-4.
A Utah Air National Guard tenant unit, the 169th IS includes some of the most highly trained and experienced linguists and personnel in the Air Force. These Airmen provide critical intelligence in support of warfighters across the Department of Defense as part of the Deployed Common Ground System (DCGS).
During the conference, the group of Active Duty and Air National Guard counterparts and leaders from across the nation discussed existing and emerging issues central to current and future DCGS operations.
Col. Kip Clark, commander of the 181st Intelligence Wing, Indiana Air National Guard, and Chairman of the Weapons System Council for the past three years, led the conference. Also in attendance were Col. John Knabel, Chief, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) Forces Division, Air National Guard, National Guard Bureau; and Col. Michael Lovell, Air National Guard Advisor to the Air Force ISR Agency Commander.
Though the council generally meets twice a year, this was the first opportunity for the 169th to assume responsibility for coordination of the venue, logistics, and all subsequent support.
"I have to start by saying that I've been thoroughly impressed by the exceptional hospitality Lt. Col. Troy Drennan, Commander of the 169th, and his team of professionals have provided during our stay," said Clark.
Clark explained that the conference provides a unique opportunity for the units that represent the common weapons system to present a united message to Air National Guard leadership.
"In addition, the group uses the forum to identify the top three issues we plan to present to the Air Directorate Functional Advisory Council -- a gathering of all the Air Force Weapons Systems" Clark said.
After lengthy discussion and deliberation, this year's top three included equipment distribution, resource allocation, and training and exercises.
Additional agenda highlights included discussion on the importance of "right-sizing" traditional and full time manning, as well as the establishment of working groups to address a variety of DCGS topics.
"It was an honor to host so many key players from across the country," said Drennan. "Not only were we able to showcase our unit, but it allowed everyone to see firsthand the extraordinary support the Wing provides us for our mission."
Drennan noted that participant feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
"It was a wonderful opportunity; we look forward to spearheading the event again," he said.