New vision for 30th Space Wing

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The 30th Space Wing has a new vision -- "Our nation's finest Airmen, delivering and advancing space power for America." While the new vision has been in place for several months, I want to take this time to explain the importance of this vision statement. To understand what that means, the first thing to understand is what a vision statement is. A vision statement outlines what we want to be. It concentrates on the future; it is a source of inspiration; it provides clear decision-making criteria.

The role of a vision is to provide a central thought or theme that frames our thinking, and puts intention behind our actions. A vision statement is something that should provide linkage to what the wing is all about to what you do on a daily basis.

Let's look at the wing's vision -- "Our nation's finest Airmen, delivering and advancing space power for America." The first part of that statement says who we are, and who we will continue to be -- "our nation's finest Airmen." In my view, every member of this wing, and of Team Vandenberg, is an Airman - each blue-suiter, Department of Defense civilian, and contractor counterpart -- is an Airman, and you are second to none. Your record of outstanding performance -- not just a long and successful string of flawless launches, but accolades and awards for installation excellence, and a record of excellence in the face of a daunting ops tempo in deployment operations as well -- is a testament to the fact that Vandenberg is home to our nation's finest Airmen.

The second part of the vision statement -- "delivering and advancing space power for America" -- talks to what we as our nation's finest Airmen will do -- and as I mentioned, should be the touchstone for our actions and decisions. The question we should ask ourselves is: do our decisions and actions contribute to delivering and advancing space power for America? Consider what it means to "deliver" -- to "carry out" or "perform" or "bring to a destination". It compels us to action; delivering space power requires us to be intentional in what we do in support of our launch and range missions, and because a failed launch is an unacceptable outcome, it forces us to be meticulous and exacting in our expectations and performance -- the success of the mission, or the lives of our countrymen or allies, may depend on how well we live up to our part in delivering space power for America.

Now, let's examine what it means to "advance" space power. By definition, it means to move forward, increase, improve. Our vision is to improve the space capabilities this nation has available to it, to increase and move them forward, to provide maximum leverage and optimum employment of U.S. space capabilities in support of joint forces at home and abroad. In the context of what the 30th Space Wing brings to the fight, what is space power? As I've said before, when you think about how the US brings space power to bear, Vandenberg is the most important installation in the Nation. Vandenberg is unique -- not only is it a national asset with one-of-a-kind space-lift, test, and range capabilities, it's home to the nation's only joint operational command and control center for U.S. space forces; we provide support to crucial operational missile defense capability, as well as critical satellite command and control facilities at the Vandenberg tracking station; and we host the country's space schoolhouse and key National Reconnaissance Organization processing and support capabilities. We do these things for America -- but what does "America" stand for, and what do we mean when we say it? The United States is not just where we live; it's our way of life, and we are sworn to defend it and the ideals that it stands for. Securing the nation's high ground by delivering and advancing space power, as we've described it, is our contribution to ensuring both our country and the ideals that we hold dear will stand strong for this and future generations of Americans.

Even though the wing has a new vision, it means nothing if you don't take ownership of it, understand what it means to you, and let it mold your thoughts and actions. Our task is to define the future for the wing and the base, and then lead change in the direction we want to go, and not let change lead us. We can't be satisfied with where we are or what we have. The world isn't static, and we can't afford to be, either. I challenge you to embrace the wing's vision -- the nation's finest Airmen, delivering and advancing space power for America -- and make an intentional difference in support of that vision every day. It's only by taking ownership, and making deliberate decisions and taking decisive action, that we as a team can make our vision for the 30th Space Wing a reality.