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AFNIC is ‘home plate’ for tech expertise

Posted 2/3/2011   Updated 2/3/2011 Email story   Print story


from Air Force Network Integration Center

2/3/2011 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill.  -- Gen. William Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command, and his wife, Linda, visited the Air Force Network Integration Center Jan. 25 to meet with Airmen and learn more about the center's role in his command's cyberspace mission.

As part of the visit, the general held a commander's call during which he laid out his top priorities and discussed other hot-button Air Force issues.

He began the session praising AFNIC for the technical talent it brings to the fight.
"Something that's clear to me from previous jobs, and my current job, is there's a tremendous amount of talent here in this organization," General Shelton said. "My challenge is, given the capability that's here, how do I focus it and move forward to make sure we have the right people working the right problems at the right time?"

The general then laid out his top priorities for the command: support the joint fight every day, get control of the cost of space programs, and operationalize and normalize the cyberspace business.

"For our brothers and sisters that are on the battlefield in harm's way, it is our obligation to support them in the best way that we know how," he said. "We need to give them the capability they need just as fast as we can get it to them, as cost effectively as we can get it to them."

While his second priority, "get control of the cost of space programs" focuses on space, he said cyber programs fall under this category as well.

"We've got to get the requirements right, we've got to get the acquisition strategies right ... all of this needs to be improved so we can provide the capability we know is absolutely required and warfighters depend on every day," he said.

He later asked for help in identifying efficiencies throughout the command, saying, "My challenge to you is to look for a cost-effective way to do everything we do and look for opportunities to make reductions."

To operationalize and normalize the cyberspace business, General Shelton said he is relying on the 24th Air Force to determine the processes; his focus will be to ensure commanders throughout the Air Force understand and appreciate the importance of cyberspace.

"All commanders must understand that cyber is absolutely critical to mission accomplishment," he said. "Let's get (cyber) into the mainstream; let's get it to where people understand that a cyber tasking order has the same weight as an air or space tasking order."

To get these priorities done, however, the general stressed the importance of taking care of people and building resiliency in the force.

"We do a great job of mission accomplishment but we still have a way to go in making sure we do the right thing by our people in the Air Force," he said. "It doesn't matter whether you're a civilian, contractor, active duty, Reserve or Guard. Everybody that is 'Team Air Force' needs to understand how deeply we appreciate their contributions to the force."

He noted the Air Force's record high suicide rate in 2010, and vowed to provide the field tools to help deal with the many stressors in their lives. He also stressed the importance of first-level supervision in taking care of people and pushing them forward to give them the opportunity to reach their full potential.

General Shelton then answered questions from the audience on a number of topics, including the technical expertise of AFNIC, which he said is the top capability the center provides to AFSPC.

"There's probably not a collection of technical talent anywhere in the Air Force in this particular mission area that can match what you've got here," he said. "I believe that we could bring just about any problem connected with cyberspace to this organization and we'd get a decent plan and way ahead to solve it. In terms of the technical solution, I think this [center] is home plate."

One of the final topics the general referenced was the importance of continued support to families, especially those of deployed Airmen, and he vowed that the command and the Air Force are making it a top priority.

In fact, support to the command's families was also the top priority of Mrs. Shelton, who broke off from the general's itinerary to meet with the center's key spouses, families of deployed Airmen and representatives from the Scott AFB Airman and Family Readiness Center.

Mrs. Shelton also received a tour of the base's dorm facilities, child development centers, base housing and other family-related services. She received briefings on several of the base's programs and was especially impressed with the spouse employment services the A&FRC provides.

The general's visit was in conjunction with the AFNIC change of command ceremony Jan. 26.

"AFNIC is truly at the heart of the Air Force's cyberspace efforts which are essential to military operations around the globe," he said. "Thank you for all you do for our Air Force and nation."

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