by Lea Johnson
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — No stranger to Colorado Springs or to Peterson Air Force Base, Col. Chris Crawford, 21st Space Wing commander, has high expectations for the Airmen and Department of Defense civilian employees of the wing.
“I firmly believe the 21st Space Wing is the top wing in Air Force Space Command,” said Crawford.
The July 8 commander’s call was his first opportunity to introduce himself, his personal priorities and his mission priorities for the wing.
Crawford, an Alabama native, graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in statistical mathematics and has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of West Florida. He also completed the National Security Fellowship Program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
This is Crawford’s third assignment at Peterson and fifth in Colorado Springs. He has been assigned to the 21st Space Wing three times. “I live it, I breathe it, I love it. I am one of you,” he said.
Crawford gave instructions on how he believes the wing can become the top wing in the United States Air Force within the next 24 months. He stressed the importance of integrity, laser sharp mission focus, innovation and dedication in each individual.
“If it’s not getting better, it’s getting worse,” he said.
Crawford said that he believes without the missions of the wing, the United States cannot win the next future foreign conflict.
“This wing is so critical to the future of the nation, we have to make a difference. We have to move forward and we have to break glass,” he said.
Crawford referred to a poem by Charles Mackay titled “You have no enemies, you say?” that captures how he feels about leadership.
You have no enemies you say.
Alas my friend, the boast is poor.
He who has mingled in the fray
Of duty that the brave endure,
Must have foes. If you have none,
small is the work that you have done.
You’ve hit no traitor on the hip,
You’ve dashed no cup from a perjured lip,
You’ve turned no wrong to right,
You’ve been a coward in the fight.
To make a difference, Crawford outlined his priorities for the wing. The first priority he addressed is a focus on compliance, recognizing that it’s not always possible for everyone to meet every requirement, especially with the current staff shortages.
“Identify those requirements that are important to, or critical to, the core mission. Identify those that are not,” he said, “then make sure critical requirements are satisfied with precision every time.”
Personal accountability is a key step in meeting the critical requirements and improving daily. There are three questions the new commander wants every 21st Space Wing Knight to ask themselves: What was the net effect of my unit’s proficiency today? Did we find better ways to accomplish the mission? Did my personal proficiency get better today?
On the other side of the coin, there are several things Crawford said he will not accept as a leader, including lack of effort, disregard for the mission and willful negligence. Also, unprofessional relationships, harassment, discrimination, misuse or abuse of authority, and misuse or abuse of alcohol or drugs will not be tolerated, he said.
The last priority Crawford addressed was the development of future leaders in the 21st SW. Providing education, providing a plan, and providing the right experiences to people should be a priority in terms of money and time, he said.
“I think we have the people, the skills, the mission set to make a difference. I think this can be the top wing in the United States Air Force. That’s my goal.” Crawford said.