By Jennifer Thibault
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The 50th Space Wing commander held a commanders’ conference to help leadership across the installation synchronize and collaborate efforts at the Doolittle Hall at the U.S. Air Force Academy March 21-22.
Col. Jennifer Grant, commander, kicked off the two-day conference focusing attendees on the need to increase readiness and lethality throughout the wing’s operations.
“Synchronization of mission will be the key to both days,” she said. “We are focused on integration and innovation, we do this across our groups and with our mission partners. We are one team!”
In addition to wing’s commanders, superintendents and first sergeants, the conference included the wing’s Reserve counterparts, specifically the 310th Space Wing commander and 310th Operations Group commander.
“I’m grateful you could be here with us,” Grant said. “We accomplish our mission side-by-side, so it’s befitting we take this time to resync together as well.”
Col. Traci Kueker-Murphy, commander of the 310th SW, echoed those comments in her overview brief to the participants.
“We work every space command mission except launch and radar,” Kueker-Murphy said. “We started out as a strategic reserve, but today we do everything from strategic reserve to daily operations. We must continue to collaborate in order to be mutually successful, especially as Airmen transition. Together we can maximize retention while protecting the Air Force’s investment in Airmen and their training.”
Each of the wing’s groups presented mission area highlights and what they see on the horizon. Additionally, the wing’s geographically separated unit leaders made similar presentations while seeing their squadron and agency counterparts, some for the first time since taking command.
Grant continued the collaboration discussion recalling the Air Force Chief of Staff’s number one focus area: revitalizing the squadron.
“This was an effort for us to identify, quantify and buy down risk at the unit level,” Grant said. “We are making incremental changes, even though some may not have seen it.”
She then opened the floor for unit leaders to discuss some of the ways they’ve internally worked to revitalize their squadrons. The discussion included commander support staff manning, increased mentoring sessions and pushing decisions down to those who will carry them out where possible.
“This is not just about additional duties, this is about spending time, evaluating processes and empowering individuals,” Grant said. “Commanders, superintendents and first sergeants are doing this more and that is how we revitalize our squadrons.”
She encouraged participants to use this forum as a springboard to keep in touch with their counterparts and share ideas.
“I don’t know if there’s a lot of cross talk outside these venues,” she added. “I encourage you to keep doing it, if you haven’t, start.”
The commander is backing up her encouragement with money.
There’s currently a wing-wide tasker for squadrons to identify their best innovation that would help increase their squadron’s lethality and readiness with $250,000 on the line.
“It won’t necessarily all go to one squadron,” Grant said. “We will reward the best ideas that are the most innovative and would help us more effectively execute our mission. We have very smart people working our missions and I can’t wait to see their ideas.”
While this initiative is happening today, the results could take some time to implement.
“These innovative efforts will not happen overnight. The process adjustments will take some time to realize the gains…but they will be there,” she said. “Thank you in advance for your creativity and your patience!”
Other mission partners participated in the conference to educate attendees on processes and areas for increased collaboration, to include the Office of Special Investigations and the 21st Medical Squadron.
Grant closed the conference thanking everyone for their input and efforts to take ideas further within their respective units.
“Corporately we are moving in the same direction and that’s critical to ensuring success throughout our mission disciplines,” Grant said. “The cross talk and data sharing we did here collectively are necessary as we work to revitalize our squadrons and increase our lethality and readiness across all domains.”