New beginnings to the final countdown

Col. DeAnna Burt, 50th Space Wing commander

Col. DeAnna Burt, 50th Space Wing commander


At the end of every calendar year, I love watching those "Year-in-Review” shows that highlight the best and worst of the past 12 months.  As Team Five-O, you have produced your own eye-watering highlight reel for 2016.  I am so proud of your extraordinary accomplishments.  However, we cannot rest on our laurels and must continue to evolve and innovate the way we command space and cyber systems to deliver global combat effects.  As we enter 2017, it is a time for new beginnings, but for me it will also be the beginning of the final six-month count down as your commander.  Therefore, we must begin focusing our energy on the things we need to complete before my departure.

The following outlines my big three efforts within the Wing Staff and Groups that will become my focus areas over the next six months.

Wing Staff:

-          A smooth transition of command is imperative for the wing to continue seamless operations.  We must begin to gather all policies, instructions, orders and documentation that will require the new wing commander’s attention upon arrival. 

-          Continue improving and consolidating our wing inspection and self-assessment processes based on the recent Chief of Staff of the Air Force guidance memo aimed at reducing additional duties.  We have to manage our limited manpower resources to complete our mission--leveraging the CSAF guidance memo will help us achieve that goal.

-          Fully exercise our Continuity of Operations Plan and Emergency Management Plan as scheduled.  We did these as “firsts” in 2016.  Now we must prove we can repeat and incorporate our lessons learned.

50th Mission Support Group:

-          Improving the quality of life for those who live and work on Schriever Air Force Base remains a top priority.  Continue to explore creative and innovative opportunities to improve food services, entertainment, recreational and resiliency activities that build upon our successes last year. 

-          Continue driving on our three largest construction projects:  Event Center, 21st Medical Squadron Clinic Expansion and Youth Center.  These facilities are critical to supporting our community on the installation.

-          A new operations facility is mandatory if we are to achieve the path laid out in the Air Force Space Command Space Enterprise Vision. Working with Safety, Network Operations Group and Operations Group, draft a consolidated Military Construction requirement for a new operations facility for submission in Fiscal Year 18.  Requirements need to include Defensive Cyber Operations, Enterprise Ground System and training. 

50th Network Operations Group:

-          Our limited cyber expertise must be prioritized and working toward defending our mission systems if we are to fight in a contested environment.  We must complete an assessment of 17D/3D utilization across the wing, reclassify civilian billets where required and identify opportunities for additional contractor support.

-          Delivering defensive cyber operations requires specific training for our cyber defenders.  As an Air Force DCO pilot, we have an opportunity to set the standard for the entire Air Force.  We need to create, document and track a military, civilian and contractor training plan for DCO operators that leverages Air Education and Training Command, 24th Air Force and industry training courses. 

-          Our Geographically Separated Units are in disrepair due to budget cuts, changes in installation management/basing responsibilities, and the harsh/corrosive climates where these facilities operate.  To ensure we have continued access to our antennas, we must reinvest in our GSU infrastructure.  Working with MSG and Comptroller, document and budget the GSU operations and maintenance plan for facility improvements for 2018-2028. 

50th Operations Group:

-          Continue the documentation of lessons learned and improvement of our Space Mission Force processes, procedures, culture, advanced training and intelligence requirements.  Documentation allows us to share our lessons learned as we change over leadership at every level.  Continue to share these lessons with our other 14 AF Wings who are just beginning to implement SMF.  Documentation also allows us to advocate for additional funding and manpower for known shortfalls.

-          Partner with the 310th Operations Group to finalize Reserve support to SMF, and document and communicate the plan for execution.  The communication plan includes a joint industry day to explain SMF to community employers.  Reserve manpower is required for us to successfully execute SMF.

-          Complete ongoing efforts to automate and merge operations across all the space operations squadrons.  Automation is the key to get us to our goal of eight-hour shifts in summer 2017.


While all the initiatives above are at the operational level, every member of this wing plays a part in their execution down to the newest Airman, lieutenant, civilian and contractor employee.   As you build your New Year’s resolutions personally, as a work center or as a squadron, I would ask you to revisit this list.  Our team effort on these tasks will ensure our continued success as a wing.

Thanks again for all you do and Happy New Year!  2017 is going to go by fast, but I am looking forward to serving for and with you to uphold the title:  Masters of Space.