Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

Wing leader holds last commander’s call

Col. Stephen N. Whiting, 21st Space Wing commander, discusses the importance of sustaining excellence in every aspect of the wing’s operations during his Commander’s Call May 17, 2011, at the base auditorium. Colonel Whiting said this summer will be one of change as Airmen make permanent change of station moves. He urged Airmen and Department of Defense personnel to ensure that they properly hand over their programs and help incoming Airmen understand how they work so that no program falls by the wayside. (U.S. Air Force photo/Craig Denton)

Col. Stephen N. Whiting, 21st Space Wing commander, discusses the importance of sustaining excellence in every aspect of the wing’s operations during his Commander’s Call May 17, 2011, at the base auditorium. Colonel Whiting said this summer will be one of change as Airmen make permanent change of station moves. He urged Airmen and Department of Defense personnel to ensure that they properly hand over their programs and help incoming Airmen understand how they work so that no program falls by the wayside. (U.S. Air Force photo/Craig Denton)

by Monica Mendoza

21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — This summer will be the season of change for the 21st Space Wing.

Airmen at all levels will be making permanent change of station moves, some will be headed to Airman Leadership School and others will be off to the NCO academy. And, there will be a big shift in leadership, both at the officer side and NCO side.

All of the change could leave some programs high and dry, said Col. Stephen N. Whiting, 21st SW commander. He doesn’t want that to happen. Colonel Whiting is included in those changes; his change of command is slated for late June.

Colonel Whiting, speaking during a May 17 Commander’s Call at the base auditorium, asked Airmen and Department of Defense civilian employees to ensure continuity through the transition so that no program gets dropped, forgotten or falls by the wayside.

The 21st Space Wing spent a great deal of time preparing for its Operational Readiness Inspection, which was in March. For that inspection, a team of 100 inspectors examined every aspect of the wing’s operations. The wing’s hard work paid off, Colonel Whiting said, with eight areas rated as “excellent” in the ORI, which was an improvement over its last inspection.

“We know there is danger to sustaining our excellence,” Colonel Whiting said. “It can’t be one of those mindsets where you say, ‘I did my part, now I’m leaving.’”

Colonel Whiting said Airmen have worked too hard on their programs to just let them tumble.

“How many times have we shown up at a job and all of a sudden a program that was effective three or four months ago is now broken,” he said. “We don’t want that to happen.”

Continuity is crucial, he said. Program leaders should ensure there is a solid transition to the new person taking over the program. Program leads could go through the inspection findings, which identifies strengths and weaknesses, with the new personnel, and use the inspections as a road map.

“I need each of you as leaders to consciously think about how you will sustain excellence in the midst of turnover,” he said.

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