Outgoing ADF-C commander highlights facility's accomplishments from his tenure

  • Published
  • By Col. David Thompson
  • Former Aerospace Data Facility commander
It is with a great sense of pride, satisfaction and sincere humility that I bid farewell to The Aerospace Data Facility-Colorado and to Buckley. It has been my privilege to serve as the ADF-C commander for nearly two years and the accomplishments during this time have been absolutely incredible; they are a hallmark of the dedication to the mission and the security of this great nation and our allies.

Due to the nature of our work, the ADF-C has not been fortunate enough to share a great deal about our accomplishments with the Buckley community. There are some significant success stories from the past two years that I can share, however. These achievements, as with everything else we accomplish on a day-to-day basis, are enabled by strong support from all of Team Buckley, from our Operations Squadron compatriots in the Operations Group to the support group's base infrastructure and services and the Medical group's care of our joint service military workforce.

Recognition from the Director of National Intelligence with the 2008 DNI National Intelligence Award for Collaborative Leadership is a clear statement of ADF-C's excellence.

To quote the award, "...the Aerospace Data Facility-Colorado has established itself as the Intelligence Community leader for guiding and institutionalizing a culture of collaboration and information sharing between these IC agencies, (Department of Defense) personnel, foreign mission partners and a global customer set."

This is a direct result of the unique, collaborative relationships that we have built between the site's intelligence agencies, military services and mission partners, both domestic and international.

The October 2008 Joint Inspector General inspection was another validation of world-class performance. The IG team left the ADF-C with more "Commendables" than they have ever awarded during an inspection, noted a 25 percent decrease in findings and determined that ADF-C has set a new standard for excellence.

We updated the ADF-C's joint agency leadership construct reflecting ADF-C continuity independent of agency representation. The Denver Leadership Team is comprised of The National Reconnaissance Office, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency senior leaders who assume the responsibilities of the commander or his deputy during their absence. This has truly made the ADF-C a DNI test bed for how to establish and govern a multi-agency ground station.

We took a leading role in the stand-up of the System Operations Directorate and the larger transformation within the National Reconnaissance Office. This has opened doors and opportunities for greater information sharing and collaboration.

Our operational tempo has been, in a word, incredible! The workforce always finds a way around tough problems and is able to meet the challenge, no matter how daunting. We had several new flight articles and on-orbit challenges that were met with unique and comprehensive engineering solutions, allowing ADF-C to continue to provide world-class satellite command and control.

We held a competition to select a new ADF-C logo that elicited much excitement; the margin of victory was eight votes out of 1,400! This is the first new logo for the site in 20 years. It is emblematic of the environment of collaboration and partnership that is maintained to keep our customers, including those in harm's way, as the number one priority.

We have developed and implemented an actionable strategic plan that is focused, simple, measurable and traceable to higher authorities. Now is the time to maintain the momentum and ensure the outlined goals and objectives are achieved.

Space limitations within ADF-C drove the need for a new building. We are now driving requirements and developing concept and operations for a visionary facility that will set the standard for intelligence production for decades to come. The Keystone facility will afford everyone in the ADF-C workforce a positive working environment and will allay overcrowding and infrastructure oversubscription problems facing both the ADF-C and Buckley in the future.

These are just some of the highlights. The work that is performed daily in the ADF-C and on Buckley is absolutely remarkable and incredibly important to national security. We are the gold standard in support of the IC and DoD. I can think of no greater place to work and look forward to a continuing relationship with Team Buckley in my new assignment as Director at Space Forces at Central Command. Thank you for the rare and special privilege of serving with you these past 20 months.