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One team ready for ‘19

Col. Jennifer Grant, 50th Space Wing commander. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Chris Dewitt)

Col. Jennifer Grant, 50th Space Wing commander. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Chris Dewitt)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

The New Year presents the perfect opportunity to take stock of what we have accomplished while setting our sights on what we will do in the coming year.  For us here at Schriever, and more specifically the 50th Space Wing, the good news is we do not have a major course correction ahead.  Our established mission statement to evolve space and cyberspace warfighting superiority through integrated and innovative operations focuses us on our daily tasks while setting us up to maintain our position as the epicenter of space in the most powerful Air Force the world has known.  I have no doubt we will continue to grow and execute beyond even what we expect but I would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the great works we completed together in 2018.

We executed today’s operations like the champion team we are.  Basewide, to include our mission partners, we planned and carefully executed the largest power system overhaul since the base was established.  This effort took everyone’s focus and expertise to ensure our mission’s success, and you executed flawlessly!

Across the base, we deployed 110 Schriever Airmen to more than 30 locations around the world, supporting combatant command contingency operations.  While at home, we conducted 164,000 contacts with 185 of our nation’s satellites providing communication, navigation and surveillance capabilities throughout the Department of Defense.

Our Air Force Satellite Control Network supported a record 29 U.S. national and commercial space launches vital to space power projection.  Three of those launches grew our own arsenal with the addition of the Advanced Extremely High Frequency-4, a GPSII, and a GPS III satellite.

Additionally, our finance and contracting experts executed 617 contract actions valued at $114 million, 76 percent going to small businesses (exceeding small business participation goals for the third straight year).  These contracts, as examples, supported U.S. Strategic Command’s National Space Defense Center transition to 24/7 operations and cyberspace defense operators to protect, detect and respond to malicious attacks across the wing’s portfolio.

Throughout these activities, our defenders tirelessly ensured the security of our mission and personnel 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

As we look to win tomorrow’s fight, our engineers and contract professionals spearheaded construction and furniture acquisition to support the beddown of the Joint Force Space Component Command staff.  Additionally, we postured Air Force Space Command’s number one military construction project, a $148 million Combined Space Operations Facility to fuse the JFSCC and NSDC operations.  We also worked to award a construction contract for the command’s first cyber defense correlation center to monitor critical space mission systems against cyber attacks.

Within our operations, we piloted the Air Force’s only space “dogfight” simulator, paving the way for additional simulators and advanced training throughout the spectrum of conflict in a contested, degraded and operationally-limited environment.  We put that advanced training to work in three Space Flags against our aggressor counterparts to maintain our edge. We executed the largest hardware and software upgrade in the Global Positioning System’s history, validating and operationalizing the modernized navigation signal and sets the foundation for the future addition of the GPS III satellite.  We embedded operators with the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicle Directorate to conduct first-ever satellite maneuvers and experiments supporting tactics, techniques and procedure development which will further our lethality and readiness throughout our operations.  

While mastering space and cyberspace operations, we never lost sight of the people who make it all possible…you, our Airmen and their families.  We hosted First Fridays at our event center, sponsored by the USO, providing free food and entertainment to approximately 300 members and their family members monthly.  We also executed $370,000 in upgrades to our fitness center and event center while planning for our youth center’s construction.  We took time to focus on our resilience and build stronger teams within our work spaces during two Wingman Days as well as additional social support training opportunities throughout the year.  We partnered with community agencies to provide better support to our children through local school and recreational programs. 

We focused on human capital in significant ways this year.  We sent many of our top performers to the annual Air Force Association event in Washington D.C. to participate in the Chief of Staff of the Air Force’s premier professional development event of the year.  We developed and implemented our Innovative Warfighters Advancing Readiness, iWAR, program which funded your ideas to support GPS users with better computers, improve space operator radio frequency knowledge, establish a Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System Lab and increase resilience focus through impactful speakers.  Our top innovators will represent the wing at the 2019 Air Warfare Symposium to observe the Air Force’s Spark Tank competition to spur even further innovation for our wing and our base. 

Our Airmen stood out in their operations as noted here but also at training opportunities throughout our joint community, including weapons school, enlisted academies and Space Flags.  We earned major command and functional awards highlighting our experts across our mission sets.

As you can see it is no short order what we have accomplished together as a team this year.  It is quite impressive actually.  I am so proud of each and every one of you and how together you have advanced our operations and taken care of each other.  As we look to 2019, I anticipate a dynamic environment much like the one we faced this year.  It is in this environment you proved your might and I know you will continue to show our leaders, our nation and our adversaries that we are ready and we are the masters of space.

Thank you for what you do.  Thank you for who you are.  And thank you for your efforts in taking this wing and this base to new heights.  We could not have had such a successful year without each of you, and I look forward to seeing what we will achieve together this year.  #OneTeam