Weathering seasons of change

Commander 4 SOPS

Lt. Col. Armon Lansing, 4th Space Operations Squadron commander.

Fall is a season of change. Leaves become vibrant with color, the air becomes cooler and pumpkin spice flavor seems to be in everything. However, while some welcome change, others will try to resist it.      

The reasons for a person’s resistance seem to vary. In my experience, many involve a desire to remain comfortable in their current situations, while others may fear failure. People may fear the amount of work it will take, feel there is not time to make the change, or may not prioritize change high enough on their list to warrant effort. Ultimately, some may fundamentally disagree with the change.

In recognition of such a season of change, last month Col. Jennifer Grant, 50th Space Wing commander, rolled out a new mission, vision and priorities for the wing. Leadership recognized how we are no longer just force providers, but how we as a wing must evolve and learn to fight our weapon system through adversity. 

To do that we need to work as a team to harvest efficiencies from innovation and integration to allow us to triumph over our adversary’s best efforts to thwart us, with systems not designed to do so.  Grant has asked Team Schriever to join an effort to prepare this wing, and our nation, for the next chapter in the history of space warfighting – a fundamental change.

This requires hard work, and to face what makes us uncomfortable – the unknown. Both can naturally drive a desire to resist; however, one can overcome this by recognizing not only the necessity and importance of what we are doing, but the vital role you play in making it happen. 

Likewise, if the resistance is driven by issues with prioritization, fundamental disagreement with where we are headed, or thinking it is not being done right, I encourage you dig a little deeper and ask questions of your chain of command. 

This may not only help you to understand why, but also help your leaders to think deeper and consider other things they had not yet realized.  In the end, I encourage you to join the team, bring your expertise and experience, and help make the program or process even better. 

It should also not be forgotten, change expands well beyond just operations; it impacts and is greatly impacted by all parts of a team. 

All too often, I have seen the burdensome bureaucracy of the very processes designed to support operations grind necessary operational change to a halt.  In contrast, sometimes the operational community’s lack of understanding of how to navigate that bureaucracy can be equally as detrimental.  The community’s support in understanding what is needed and how to work the process can often make or break such efforts. 

No matter where you are serving in this wing, we are at a historic point in space and cyber operations.  Each of you will decide to be a part of that history or remain on the sidelines.  I can tell you change is coming, and I encourage you to grab a pumpkin spice latte, join the team in making it happen, and help get it done right.