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News > ESC garners two top Air Force acquisition awards
BACN takes off
A BD-700 equipped with the full suite of Battlefield Airborne Communication Node equipment takes off from Wichita Airport in Kansas earlier this month. The Electronic Systems Center’s BACN Joint Urgent Operational Need team received one of two John J. Welch, Jr. Awards for Excellence in Acquisition Leadership March 10. Col. Cordell DeLaPena, 653rd Electronic Systems Group commander, was also named an Air Force Outstanding System Program Director. (Courtesy Photo)
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ESC garners two top Air Force acquisition awards

Posted 3/16/2010   Updated 3/29/2010 Email story   Print story


by Chuck Paone
66th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

3/16/2010 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- An Electronic Systems Center group commander and a key program team within his group both received Air Force Acquisition and Transformation Leadership Awards March 10.

The awards, to Col. Cordell DeLaPena, commander of the 653rd Electronic Systems Group, and to the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node Joint Urgent Operational Need Team, were presented at the Acquisition Leadership Forum in Atlanta.

"These awards were richly deserved and bring great credit to the center and to our Air Force," said ESC Commander Lt. Gen. Ted Bowlds. "I am very proud of Colonel DeLaPena and of all the people who have worked so hard to get the life-saving BACN capability out to our warfighters."

The BACN Joint Urgent Operational Need Team received one of two John J. Welch, Jr. Awards for Excellence in Acquisition Leadership. The Welch Award, according to the Leadership Forum guide, "is the most prestigious Air Force acquisition award."

Colonel DeLaPena was named one of two Air Force Outstanding System Program Directors.

As commander of the 653 ELSG, Colonel DeLaPena leads more than 700 people working on 34 programs worth more than $18 billion. According to the award citation, "his impact spans Air Force networks and integration systems for the President and Secretary of Defense, as well as theater, and naval, air and space warfare forces."

The colonel was also cited for leading rapid acquisition efforts used to support Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. His leadership on the rapid deployment of BACN was noted as a particular highlight.

The BACN team was cited for rapidly executing the Joint Chiefs of Staff Deployment Order, known as the DEPORD, fielding the experimental system to an operational theater where it could support urgent warfighting needs.

"The program office delivered the BACN system in minimum time, literally putting the 'rubber on the ramp' in less than six weeks following DEPORD direction," the citation reads. "In-theater commanders are now planning combat operations around the availability of BACN, which has shortened the kill chain and ultimately saved lives of our coalition forces."

Designed for use in unmanned and manned aircraft, BACN is a forward-deployed airborne communications relay that significantly enhances situational awareness in theater.  BACN can relay voice communication over long distances, providing range extension, and can bridge between frequencies.

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