The Air Force Spectrum Management Office, located on Fort Meade, Md., is a field operating agency to Air Combat Command.
The AFSMO mission is to plan, provide and preserve access to the radio frequency spectrum for the Air Force and selected Department of Defense activities in support of national policy objectives, systems development and global operations. This includes obtaining spectrum access critical for all Air Force core functions.
AFSMO defends and articulates Air Force spectrum access to regulatory agencies at the joint, national and international levels. It is responsible for all Air Force spectrum management-related matters, policy and procedures. Additionally, the agency oversees the Air Force spectrum management career field and manages the payment of the approximately $4 million Air Force spectrum fee each year.
Thirteen military, 28 civilian and nine contract personnel comprise AFSMO and manage Air Force access to the radio frequency spectrum.
AFSMO is composed of two directorates and the Command Section:
The Command Section includes the Commander, Executive, Resource Manager and Chief Enlisted Force Management, and provides leadership, workflow and resource management, and oversight of the 3D1X4 Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations Air Force Specialty Code, to include chairing the Inter-service Advisory Committee overseeing curriculum for the Electromagnetic Spectrum Management Course and the Joint Task Force Spectrum Management Course at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss.
The Directorate of Operations is responsible for day-to-day spectrum processes that allow Air Force and DOD warfighters unfettered access to the electromagnetic spectrum.
The Spectrum Certifications Division ensures the electromagnetic compatibility of spectrum-dependent systems and advises procurement offices on spectrum allocations and required technical characteristics to facilitate national-level system certification. Certification applications for new systems are coordinated across 19 federal agencies to ensure adherence to standards while minimizing the likelihood of harmful interference. The Engineering Division is also responsible to assist COCOMs in obtaining certification of systems for global use and subsequently processes host nation approval requests for systems supporting warfighters overseas.
The Spectrum Assignments Division is responsible for more than 29,000 active frequency assignments in the United States & Possessions. Assignments are deconflicted with extreme care based on geographical area, time and emission characteristics. AFSMO assignment personnel also assist with resolution of Air Force Spectrum Interference Reports when they occur.
The Information Technology Division is responsible for maintaining the classified local area network in support of the AFSMO mission and provides system administration and direct customer support for all federal and contracting personnel assigned to the agency.
The Directorate of Strategic Planning is the Air Force voice at international, national, civil and military (NATO, allied and coalition) electromagnetic spectrum forums and is responsible for the development of integrated spectrum plans and long-term strategies addressing current and future Air Force spectrum access requirements.
The National Division is responsible for reaching out to ensure all national strategic documents and proposals addressing spectrum dependent systems contain appropriate language to support and protect Air Force national operations. This division assertively prepares the Air Force to respond to national spectrum management issues and propose actions to enhance and preserve national spectrum access and spectrum management strategies within the purview of Air Force and DOD. The members of this team collaborate with other federal agencies and integrate Air Force capabilities, supporting spectrum management now and into the future.
The Warfighting Division is responsible for reviewing all defense and allied strategic documents that address spectrum-dependent systems so that appropriate language will support Air Force spectrum access in DOD and joint forums. The members of this team are critical in strategic working groups developing/shaping Air Force future capabilities ensuring spectrum requirements are addressed. The division collaborates with defense and allied forums to integrate Air Force capabilities in the development of information technology applications and net-centric automated tools that support spectrum management.
The International Division is responsible for international spectrum management issues by proposing actions necessary to ensure the Air Force's global access to the spectrum.
Additionally, this division develops strategies regarding spectrum management matters for presentation to spectrum bodies within international organizations including the United Nations International Telecommunications Union.
The Space Division is responsible for ensuring proper registration, coordination of orbital positions and frequency usages for Air Force satellite systems operating globally. This division reviews the National Security Space Strategy and National Security Space Plan and provides recommendations for the integration of spectrum supportability and insertion of spectrum-efficient technologies into Air Force space-based acquisition policy and procedures. This division reviews technical characteristics of planned domestic and foreign satellite systems to ensure system compliance with radio frequency spectrum standards published by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and ITU. Members of this division coordinate satellite actions internationally and participate in bilateral discussions and negotiations with foreign nations to resolve system discrepancies and electromagnetic compatibility issues. The division also acts as the DoD/NASA/DoC focal point for pre-coordination of space launch use of S-band frequency at government launch sites in the US&P.
The rapid proliferation of radio frequency spectrum use from 1906 to 1927 brought about an Executive Order from President Calvin Coolidge, which created the Interagency Radio Advisory Committee or IRAC to assume responsibility of radio frequency assignments to government agencies.
The National Telecommunications Act of 1934 added the Army Air Corps to the IRAC where it assumed a prominent role. During World War II, frequency management was an advisor to the Air Staff and remained that way until 1981 when it became an extended arm of the Air Staff and was named the Frequency Management Center. From November 1979 to May 1993, AFSMO was part of Air Force Communications Command, during which time (Oct 1991) the FMC was renamed to the Air Force Frequency Management Agency.
AFSMO was re-aligned to Air Force Space Command in accordance with the HQ USAF PAD 07-08 (C-3) May 4, 2009.
On August 1, 2011 AFSMO relocated to the DISA Headquarters building on Fort Meade.
In July of 2018, AFSMO was realigned as a field operating agency to Air Combat Command and continues to be the focal point for military department frequency requirements in times of contingencies, natural disasters and daily operational support.