Official websites use .mil
Secure .mil websites use HTTPS
How the 225th ADS Protects the Homeland:
Using over 200 dedicated and shared radar devices, the WADS detects the presence of all air traffic within the continental United States. This information is constantly analyzed by airmen and sophisticated equipment in the battle control center to monitor air traffic 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Any aircraft originating from outside of the boundaries of the continental United States and entering into U.S. airspace must be positively identified. All of these aircraft in the WADS area of responsibility are then screened and categorized as friendly or otherwise. Flights originating in the U.S. are only monitored if the aircraft shows abnormal flight patterns or is in violation of FAA flight rules.
The WADS will initiate action on any aircraft identified as an actual or possible threat. Action includes launching fighter jets from the nearest location to get "eyes on" the aircraft, deter further activity and use deadly force if necessary. Jets can also be scrambled to assist aircraft in distress, to help determine if the aircraft is safe to land and to visually monitor the situation.
2022 Year in Review
In 2022, the Western Air Defense Sector defended 2.8 million square miles of North America from air attack. WADS analyzed threat profiles and monitored the safety and security of a National Airspace System that enabled oversight of over 29 million aircraft flying in America’s skies and commerce to flow freely.
The 225th Air Defense Squadron scrambled alert fighters on 36 suspect aircraft, performed over 45 tactical actions and managed over 400 live-fly Air Tasking Order sorties. The 225th ADS expanded its area of responsibility for more than 700 hours and enforced 78 temporary flight restriction airspaces. Over the year, the 225th ADS reported over 134 tracks of interest and conducted over 3,000 hours of radar interpretation to detect, track, and identify. The 225th ADS responded to more than 1,470 reports of non-communicating aircraft, all while executing over 11,000 shifts to maintain 24/7 coverage.
Overall, the 225th ADS conducted over 20,500 hours of instruction in its formal training program, gave 149 recurring evaluations, and ran over 246 local exercises. The 225th ADS scheduled over 1,200 events, controlled 115 tactical fighter missions across the country, and battle managed 10 large force exercises.
The 225th Air Defense Group is nearing the completion of the Mission Training Center (MTC) on the second floor of its air defense facility on McChord Field. The MTC is a $10 million system-by-system replica of the WADS operations floor and will give the 225th ADG a facility separated from live operations to train its operators. The facility is planned to have 21 operator workstations and be fully mission functional. The MTC will enable linkages with virtual entities across the Air Force, Navy, and Army that enable joint training and integration.
WADS continued growing its relationships with the Royal Thai Air Force and Royal Malaysian Air Force via the State Partnership Program. WADS coordinates closely with USINDOPACOM to support subject matter expert exchanges, exercises, and Airman to Airman Talks. As COVID-19 restrictions eased in 2022, the WADS senior leadership team was finally able to travel regularly to Thailand and Malaysia to personally cultivate relationships with their senior military leaders. The relationships being forged between the commanders and air defenders of WADS and their counterparts in Malaysia and Thailand is essential for enabling success in the great power competition. The primary mission of the SPP program is to conduct military-to-military engagements in support of defense security goals but also leverages whole-of-society relationships and capabilities to facilitate broader interagency and corollary engagements spanning military, government, economic and social spheres.
WADS welcomed the opportunity to showcase the Operation Noble Eagle mission, new unit initiatives, innovation team progress and its Airmen to numerous high level U.S. military leaders and elected officials. WADS hosted the Canadian Ambassador to the U.S., Canadian Consul General, NORAD commander, NORAD deputy commander, NORAD Command Chief, Air Combat Command commander, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, First Air Force deputy commander, Deputy Director of the Air National Guard, and Rep. Marilyn Strickland.
In addition, WADS participated in the 2022 Legislative Lift and two Washington Staff Delegation visits where over 70 elected official and their staff gained valuable information on the WADS mission and the unit’s impacts on Washington State.
WADS was the recipient of the Larry O. Spencer Innovation Award two years in a row. The award recognizes the individual and/or team who demonstrates innovation in cost and manpower savings to improve efficiency, operational readiness and replication of the innovation across the Air Force enterprise. The Washington ANG Innovation Team developed the U.S. Air Force’s first artificial intelligence/machine learning- backed battle management training system that is capable of scaling across the entire tactical command and control (C2) enterprise. Battle Management Training Next is a cutting-edge video game-like training system that provides C2 battle management operators with sustained, high-quality, low-cost training repetitions. The team also stood up the first ANG state coder team, leading software builds for the Department of Defense next-generation C2 platform. The team continues to work with industry-leading software teams to build Joint All Domain Command and Control software “by the warfighter, for the warfighter.”
In October 2022, the Air Combat Command Inspector General team conducted the 2022 Unit Effectiveness Inspection at WADS. WADS received an “Effective” rating with seven “Highly Effective” sub-ratings. “This is the first inspection I can remember in a while where an organization didn’t have a single significant write up,” commented Brig. Gen. Gent Welsh, Washington Air National Guard commander.
Beyond just maintaining the computers and network infrastructure for WADS, the 225th Support Squadron was busy maintaining over 480 radars, processing over 3,000 maintenance events. The 225th SPTS also executed 23 integrated operations and maintenance exercises during the quarterly drill periods and performed 12 Joint Technical Inspections and validated 1,949 key radar and radio parameters which reinforced Continental U.S. NORAD Region homeland defense mission requirements.
WADS’ input on the Battle Control Center at the Air Reserve Component Weapons and Tactics Conference resulted in the $10M Air National Guard funded Agile Operations Center initiative that will start in 2023. This project will modernize the operations floor and give operators more flexibility and customization on how they interact with the Battle Control Center equipment.
On a volunteer note, unit members volunteered over 2,030 hours to the Civil Air Patrol by providing expert analysis to support search and rescue which attributed to recovering 42 aircraft and saving eight lives.
2021 Year in Review
In 2021, the Western Air Defense Sector defended 2.8 million square miles of North America from air attack. WADS analyzed threat profiles and monitored the safety and security of a National Airspace System that enabled oversight of over 29 million aircraft flying in America’s skies and commerce to flow freely.
The 225th Air Defense Squadron scrambled alert fighters on 40 suspect aircraft, performed over 90 tactical actions and managed over 500 live-fly Air Tasking Order sorties. The 225th ADS expanded its area of responsibility over 50 times, and enforced 23 presidential temporary flight restriction airspaces. Over the year, the 225th ADS reported over 50 tracks of interest and conducted over 3,000 hours of radar interpretation to detect, track, and identify. The 225th ADS responded to more than 1,500 reports of non-communicating aircraft, all while executing over 11,000 shifts to maintain 24/7 coverage.
The 225th ADS transitioned to a new surveillance crew employment model away from legacy tracking and identification crew positions towards an integrated detect/track/identify model. Consisting of the largest in-house formal training bill in over a decade, instructors accomplished 670 positional events and 1,350 hours of instruction to train 13 new surveillance technicians.
Overall, the 225th ADS conducted over 6,500 hours of instruction in its formal training program, gave 120 recurring evaluations, and ran over 200 local exercises. The 225th ADS scheduled over 1,500 events, controlled 200 tactical fighter missions across the country, and battle managed 12 large force exercises.
In addition to accomplishing the 24/7 mission, the 225th ADS executed over 120 NORAD-level exercises, enabling enterprise training and mission readiness. With COVID mission assurance continuing well into 2021 and normalizing as a significant threat to 24/7 operations, the 225th ADS ensured 100% mission availability and mitigated 130 short-notice shift fallouts due to illness.
In 2021, the 225th ADG began construction of the Mission Training Center (MTC) on the second floor of its air defense facility on McChord Field. The MTC will be a $10 million system-by-system replica of the WADS operations floor and will give the 225th ADG a facility separated from live operations to train its operators. The facility is planned to have 16 operator workstations and be fully mission functional. The MTC will enable linkages with virtual entities across the Air Force, Navy, and Army that enable joint training and integration.
WADS continues to build its relationship with Malaysia and Thailand via the State Partnership Program. WADS coordinates closely with USINDOPACOM to support subject matter expert exchanges, exercises and Airman to Airman Talks.
WADS hosted a Radar Operations Orientation Course for 12 members of the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s 2nd Air Division, 330th Squadron, from Aug. 2-27, 2021. The course was designed to teach the RMAF basic fundamentals and prepare them to receive long range air domain awareness radar in 2023. The relationships being forged between the air defenders of WADS and their counterparts in Malaysia and Thailand is essential for enabling success in great power competition.
The WADS Innovation Team continued to develop and field the Battle Management Training-Next (BMTN) hardware/software training solution. The BMTN is a specialized computer console that allows for a controller to sit in front of a simulated radar display and talk on a simulated radio to a computer program that dynamically responds and reacts. It simulates complex scenarios that a controller would encounter in the real world. Once fielded, it will be useful in training new controllers or allow controllers who have been out of the seat for a while to knock off the rust before providing control to live assets. The WADS Innovation Team secured $4.23M in Small Business Innovation Research funds from National Guard Bureau to work directly with a contract vehicle and develop both a hardware and software solution. Moving forward into 2022, WADS intends to explore ways to implement BMTN as a training tool.
In January 2021, a team of WADS Airmen were able to take their specialized air battle management skills and support the Joint Air Component Coordination Element team that enabled the successful airlift of 400 Washington National Guard personnel to provide enhanced security for the U.S. Capitol and immediate surrounding areas as part of Operation Capitol Response. The team worked closely with the Joint Operations Center to plan and coordinate airlift requirements and sequence decisions during crisis action planning from staging to redeployment.
In September 2021, the 225th ADG supported Operation Allies Welcome by augmenting the over 50 Washington Air National Guard forces sent to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The 225th ADG sent seven Airmen to be part of a team that enabled the immediate stand-up of a massive tent-village to care for over 9,000 evacuated Afghan men, women and children. Serving as a contractor escort, 225th ADG Airmen facilitated the daily movement of over a hundred contractors delivering essential materials during the construction phase of the village. Their support was imperative to the formation of necessary medical, supply, food, religious and security services. Additionally, they performed reception operations for vulnerable Afghans arriving on-site, assuring both accountability and quality of life requirements were met for newly arrived residents. Finally, their efforts while facing incredible hardship and extremely condensed timelines, were key to the establishment of lasting support for the Department of Homeland Security's on-going mission to resettle fifty-thousand vulnerable Afghan personnel across the United States.
2020 Year in Review
In 2020, the Western Air Defense Sector provided 24/7 homeland defense while watching over 29 million aircraft flying in the National Airspace. WADS operations personnel scrambled alert fighters on 12 suspect aircraft, took various tactical actions on more than 106 others and monitored 7,064 tracks of interest. Supporting the President of the United States (POTUS), WADS performed nearly 17,790 man-hours of temporary flight restriction (TFR) and National Capitol Region enforcement. Additionally, WADS conducted 106 regional and national-level exercises and 679 alert force and tactical fighter training sorties.
WADS is spearheading numerous cutting edge initiatives this year in the areas of: Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS), Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2), Battle Management Training Next (BMTN), and Mission Training Center (MTC).
WADS is a key player in the evolution of ABMS and has conducted two onramp events in 2020. ABMS is the Air Force’s effort to build a network of computers and software that allows information to be fused and made available instantaneously across geographically separated forces from the highest strategic levels down to the tactical, on-the-ground warfighters. The WADS team has expert knowledge in what it takes to command and control tactical forces and WADS hope is that by participating in this effort, WADS can define the future of networked warfare as well as our own future.
The broader effort, known as JADC2, is the DoD’s concept to connect systems and sensors from the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Space Force and allies, into a single networked architecture. WADS has the expertise in Air Force and Federal Aviation Administration radar integration and is plugged into over 250 radars, thus making WADS uniquely equipped to help define the future of sensor networks.
WADS has secured $1.2 million to support the development of BMTN. BMTN is a specialized computer console that allows for a controller to sit in front of a simulated radar display and talk on a simulated radio to a computer program that dynamically responds and reacts. It simulates complex scenarios that a controller would encounter in the real world. Once fielded, it will be useful in training WADS controllers to be better and more effective at their job.
WADS will start construction of the MTC in 2021. The MTC is a replica of the WADS operations floor and gives WADS a facility away from the operations floor to train operators in complex scenarios. The MTC will give WADS a place to train that is comparable to our actual operations floor, but they also allow us to link virtually with other units and train together.
WADS continues to build its relationship with Malaysia and Thailand via the State Partnership Program. Even though COVID-19 has caused the meetings to go virtual, WADS has continued to provide support in the areas of command and control and data link expertise.
WADS traditional drill status Guardsmen have been very busy assisting Washington State with domestic operations during COVID-19 pandemic to include supporting food banks, unemployment claims processing, COVID-19 contact mapping, civil disturbances and wildfires.
WADS Airmen assisted with the Food Lifeline COVID Response Center in Seattle by processing, packing, and distributing food and goods to more than 300 food banks across 17 counties in Washington State. Airmen boxed and distributed approximately 160,000 lbs of food daily.
Senior Airman Payton Chiou, 225th Support Squadron, volunteered to support multiple domestic operations. Chiou worked in the food banks, assisted the Washington Employment Security Department process a massive backlog of unemployment claims received during the pandemic, and fought the Whitney and Inchelium Fire Complex fires in eastern Washington.
Two members of WADS received special recognition in 2020. Capt. Jason Allenton, 225th Air Defense Squadron, was named the Air National Guard’s 2019 Outstanding Command and Control Battle Management Operations Air Battle Manager of the Year. Maj. Danielle Rogowski, WADS staff judge advocate, was recognized by the Washington State Bar Association and was awarded the 2019-2020 WSBA Public Service and Leadership award. The WSBA recognizes a young Washington State lawyer who demonstrated leadership in his or her local community, contributed to the legal profession and community, and whose actions and sacrifices clearly demonstrated going above and beyond. Rogowski was activated in support of local food banks and civil disturbances.
2019 Year in Review
In 2019, the Western Air Defense Sector provided 24/7 homeland defense while watching over 29 million aircraft flying in the National Airspace. WADS operations personnel scrambled alert fighters on 13 suspect aircraft, took various tactical actions on more than 50 others and monitored 11,000 tracks of interest. Supporting the President of the United States (POTUS), WADS performed nearly 28,000 man-hours of temporary flight restriction (TFR) and National Capitol Region enforcement. Additionally, WADS conducted 55 regional and national-level exercises and 638 alert force and tactical fighter training sorties.
The WADS participated in Exercise Rainier War which is a semiannual large formation exercise designed to train aircrews under realistic scenarios that support a full spectrum operations against modern threats and replicate today’s contingency operations.
Including WADS air battle managers in this exercise brought a whole new dimension to the fight, enhancing the incredible capabilities different platforms already bring. Working closely with the C-17’s allowed all players to see how WADS air battle managers can improve the execution of a mission. The end goal was always to streamline tasks and information, ensuring everyone up and down the chain maintains the most situational awareness at all times, and the WADS ABMs demonstrated this perfectly.
The WADS has been actively participating in the National Guard State Partnership Program where teams from the 225th Air Defense Squadron travelled to Thailand and Malaysia throughout the year to provide air defense expertise to the country’s air forces. In addition, senior leaders of the Royal Thai Air Force visited WADS to personally tour and talk with subject matter experts about the air defense mission, training and schooling.
During 2019, WADS deployed 12 members to U.S. Central Command in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Operation Freedom Sentinel and Operation Spartan Shield. Operation Inherent Resolve’s mission is to defeat ISIS in designated areas of Iraq and Syria and sets conditions for follow-on operations to increase regional stability. Operation Freedom Sentinel’s missions are counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-Khorasan, and their affiliates in Afghanistan; and training, advising, and assisting the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces through the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission. Operation Spartan Shield contributes to the U.S. Central Command mission imperatives of Counter, Protect, Defend and Prepare while simultaneously building partner capacity in the Middle East.
The WADS had multiple changes of command at the group and squadron levels in April 2019. Col. Scott Humphrey became the new commander of the 225th Air Defense Group. Col. Brett Bosselmann became the new commander of the 225th Support Squadron from Col. Paige Abbott. Col. Brian Bergren became the new commander of the 225th Air Defense Squadron from Col. Brett Bosselmann.
Three members of the 225th Air Defense Group received special recognition in 2019. Capt. Colette Muller was named the Continental U.S. NORAD Region (CONR) Outstanding Drill Status Guardsman/Reservist (Officer) of the year. Master Sgt. Donald Pierce was named the CONR C2 Warrior (Enlisted) of the year. Barry Arzberger was named the CONR Civilian Category 2 of the year.
2018 Year in Review
In 2018, WADS actively tracked more than 3.2 million flights over the United States. Of these flights, more than 1,500 were identified as tracks of interest (TOI), causing additional action by WADS personnel to identify these aircraft. WADS operations personnel scrambled many live air defense fighter aircraft to intercept real world and simulated TOIs and unknown aircraft. During daily training exercises, WADS supported 27 Air National Guard, U. S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Marine Corps flying units by providing command and control (C2) to 1,000 live-fly training missions.
The WADS planned and executed the second-ever Aerospace Control Alert CrossTell exercise in Portland, Oregon, July 24-26, 2018. Over 100 personnel from 13 different government agencies to include Air National Guard fighter wings, Civil Air Patrol, NORAD, and U.S. Coast Guard rotary-wing air intercept units conducted 40 live-fly sorties and 30 simulated sorties to hone their skills with tactical-level air-intercept procedures.
These training scenarios replicated airborne intercepts of aircraft that fly into airspace the FAA has established as temporarily flight restricted airspace. Temporary flight restrictions, or TFRs, are established by the FAA and enforced by the NORAD during high-visibility national-events such as the political nominating conventions, the Super Bowl, State of the Union Address, as well as presidential travel.
It was only weeks later, that the WADS scrambled the Portland Air National Guard’s 142nd Fighter Wing F-15s to intercept the Horizon Bombardier Q400 commercial aircraft that was stolen from SeaTac Airport Aug. 10, 2018. The NORAD commander, Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, visited the WADS Aug. 23, 2018 to personally thank the men and women of the WADS for their quick actions and met with the WADS operations crew that provided command and control of the 142nd Fighter Wing's two F-15s that intercepted the stolen aircraft. The crew had an opportunity to discuss the intercept and answer O'Shaughnessy's questions during his visit. Weapons directors assigned to the 225th Air Defense Squadron, Tech. Sgt. Brian Kulp, Tech. Sgt. Aaron DeCremer and Staff Sgt. David Jacob were specifically recognized with commander's coins by O’Shaughnessy for the critical role they played during the intercept.
The WADS has been actively participating in the National Guard State Partnership Program where teams from the 225th Air Defense Squadron travelled to Guatemala, Thailand and Malaysia throughout the year to provide air defense expertise to the country’s air forces. The WADS has also participated in exercises in the Ukraine and Germany.
The SPP links a State's National Guard with the armed forces of a partner country in a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship by means of tailored, small footprint, high-impact security cooperation engagements that foster long-term enduring relationships with U.S. friends and allies around the world. The SPP arose from a 1991 U.S. European Command decision to pair reserve component soldiers and airmen with the armed forces of the then newly formed nations of the Baltic Region following the collapse of the Soviet Bloc.
Lt. Col. John Middlemore
225th Air Defense Squadron Commander