AFSPC commander visits Buckley
By Senior Airman Phillip Houk, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 12, 2014
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- General John E. Hyten, Commander of Air Force Space Command, visited Buckley Air Force Base Dec. 10 for the first time after assuming command of AFSPC on August 2014.
During his visit, General Hyten toured several agencies and units across the base and received a mission immersion into the 460th Space Wing and its base partners.
At the end of his tour, General Hyten shared his priorities, concerns and vision as commander in the fitness center filled with Team Buckley members.
"The missions that are going on here are very critical," General Hyten said at the commander's call. "You here at Buckley are doing some spectacular work, and I got to see a bit of that this morning."
General Hyten's priorities include winning today's fight, preparing for the fight tomorrow, and taking care of Airmen and their families.
"Priority number one is to win today's fight, and that's what you guys are doing here every day. At the 460th, (you make) sure the warfighters ... and operators around the world get the information they need, that it is coming right to them when they need. It's accurate, it's timely all the time, and you never make a mistake; it's always hard to work in a mission where you can't make a mistake," he said. "The second priority is to prepare for the fight that is coming tomorrow. What's going to happen in the 460th, and it is coming fast, is a lot of new capabilities are going to be coming into the operations floor. We are going to have to figure out how to take all of that information and get it out.
"Priority three is we have to take care of our Airmen and our families," he continued. "That's what we have to do, and right now we've been going through some difficult challenges."
General Hyten addressed ongoing issues and changes during the commander's call to include the scheduled move of the Buckley clinic onto the base from the VA Joint Venture Clinic.
The off-base clinic presents an ongoing issue for Team Buckley members. The drive to the clinic combined with traffic conditions, off-site parking and shuttle services can take up to over an hour of extra time out of a work day for one appointment.
"We have to figure out how to fix the Buckley medical problem," he said, referring to the separation between the base and the clinic. "We are going to get medical capabilities onto this base before I get out of the Air Force," General Hyten exclaimed.
Another issue the general discussed was the need to ensure all major commands had a greater understanding of space-based missions and how they can be applied to missions in the air and on the ground around the world.
"It was just two months ago, we sat down and figured out that was a huge problem we hadn't addressed," he said. "(All major commands and missions) need this kind of expertise and capabilities, so they are going to get it."
General Hyten shared his view of the future, where space will no longer be an uncontested environment, but a place needing constant protection. He said we need to realize that the satellites we are operating today are threatened and it is important how to recognize and act upon those threats.
"To be honest, the folks who work here on our operations floor and the folks who work at the (50th and 21st Space Wings), don't think very much about these threats today because we still have a mindset that space is a benign environment. It is not," he said.
Threats to air, space and cyberspace missions extend beyond the adversarial type. AFSPC mission sets also come under threat during sequestration, budget concerns and government shutdowns.
The general expressed his concerns over the changing budget scene and how that will affect every level of Airmen; but General Hyten also expressed his confidence in 460th SW service members and civilians to successfully fight through any challenges the future may bring.
"The bottom line is that I have no idea what tomorrow is going to bring; I am not clairvoyant," he said. "Tomorrow could be bad or tomorrow could be great; but I tell you what, I am excited about tomorrow."
Overall, even with looming budget concerns and potential future threats, the general said he is excited about the future of AFSPC and the Air Force and is confident in the professionalism of the force as a whole to withstand upcoming difficulties, as well as celebrate victories, together.