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Swindell Award goes to the 27th Intelligence Squadron

By Marge McGlinn | 480th Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing | June 8, 2015

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. — The 27th Intelligence Squadron has been selected to receive the Chief Master Sgt. James C. Swindell award for having the best communications and information systems operation in Twenty-fifth Air Force during the period Sept. 1, 2013 to Aug. 31, 2014.

Winning the award comes as no surprise to the 27 IS commander.

"I knew from the day I took command of the 27th Intelligence Squadron that no other squadron does more to synchronize and empower the Global Integrated ISR than we do," said Lt. Col. Angela Giddings, 27th IS commander.

The unit is tasked with providing global command and control of, and networking capabilities for, the Air Force Distributed Common Ground System in support of coalition and joint forces. The Air Force DCGS is the Air Force's primary ISR collection, processing, exploitation, analysis and dissemination system.
 
Among the many accomplishments in the award nomination: the unit supported 47,000 missions across seven areas of operation, produced 2,000 global processing, exploitation and dissemination tasking orders from 1,200 source documents,  and allocated 379,000 hours of full-motion video and 445,000 high-altitude imagery targets for exploitation support.

"Our [approximately] 180 military and civilian personnel bring order to chaos every day by providing global tasking and network operations to our world-wide enterprise," said Giddings.

The nomination also covered the complexity of the 27th IS mission, how it developed, tested, and implemented a web-based DCGS scheduling system that enabled shared global situational awareness of PED tasking changes within minutes, while improving tasking accuracy by fifty percent. The unit also piloted a $10 million enterprise services upgrade to enable improved system security while maintaining system accessibility for intel analysts world-wide.

In addition to having a complex mission, the 27th IS shoulders a considerable workload. It tracked global weight-of-effort daily to ensure the enterprise met the priorities established by Joint Force Component Commander-ISR, dynamically adjusting tasking and data flow to maintain balance and mission execution, even through 2,500 network system maintenance events.

"The military, civilian, and contractor personnel of the 27th Intelligence Squadron are some of the most committed intel and cyber warriors I have ever known, said Giddings. "They bring amazing ingenuity and determination to every single duty shift, doing whatever it takes to get the right tasking and information to the person who needs it in order to ensure mission success."

Giddings also said the unit is meeting the 25th Air Force vision to be the preeminent integrated ISR and operations enterprise - delivering decision advantage to the right person at the right time across the range of military operations.

"In a very tangible way, 27th IS Airmen are the ones behind the scenes delivering the information that brings decision advantage to the right person at the right time all over the world,"  she said. "I am honored to be a part of their team and proud of the way their efforts help to keep our nation secure every single day."

Col. Tim Haugh, 480th ISR Wing commander, offered his congratulations to the squadron on their selection as the Chief Master Sgt. James C. Swindell award winner.

"Thanks to every supervisor, flight commander, first sergeant, chief and commander who leads, challenges and recognizes our outstanding Airmen every day," said Haugh. "It is a privilege to be on your team!"

The Swindell award was established in 1974, in honor of the late chief recognized as the most professional communicator ever assigned to the United States Air Force Security Service, the original organization of the present day Air Force ISR Agency.

Swindell, who was promoted to the highest enlisted rank at 31 years of age and with just 13 years in service, was instrumental in obtaining the first long-haul, secure, on-line circuits for the USAFSS in the early fifties.

He was the prime architect behind the eventual merger of critical communications and automatic digital network trunking, considered major milestones in paving the way for the present communications capabilities of the agency.