HomeNewsArticle Display

Wing executive officer crucial to leadership success

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The 460th Space Wing's executive officer is the oil that keeps the senior leadership machine running.

The executive officer plays a major role in determining the effectiveness of the commander and vice commander.

"Essentially my job is to make (the commanders) more effective at thier job," said Capt. Alex Courtney, 460th SW executive officer. "I have to filter out smaller tasks that don't need to concern him or make sure that things are ready so that when he sees a request he has all the information he needs to make a good decision."

The relationship between the command team and the exec is a crucial one. The exec must adapt to the commanders' leadership style in order to establish a super hero, side kick relationship.

"He helps me each day, every day," said Col. Mitchell Stratton, 460th SW vice commander. "The combination of the executive officer and the executive assistant are kind of the engine room of the wing. They're tracking all of the work that needs to be done in house, all the taskings we receive from the wing and higher headquarters, and all of the responses we owe back to the world whether its performance reports, awards, decorations or suspenses."

Time management is perhaps one of the most important aspects of a job in such a fast-paced, dynamic environment. On top of maintaining his own work schedule, Courtney must manage the schedules of the wing commander and vice commander.

"A lot of what I do is sorting the mail. We get requests from all over and I have to look at it, and based on whatever description I can pull out of there, I have to distribute it to whoever needs to act on this information," Courtney said.

With all of the incoming and outgoing correspondence, it's vitally important that the exec maintains an organized schedule and workspace.

"You've got to be organized to be the exec. Too much stuff is coming in, and when it comes in you have to have an idea of what sort of process you need to execute on it," Courtney said. "A contributor to the stress of the job is that there is a lot stuff going on, and it's all important. I can't let anything drop; and if I do, it's going to hurt somebody."

The executive officer may end up putting in long hours to accomplish the multiple tasks levied on him. The duties of an exec may be heavy and the sacrifices are numerous, but the rewards are countless, Courtney explained. The exec has the opportunity to witness firsthand how senior leadership functions at the upper levels.

Some of the things he was most excited for when he got this job is being able to see the decision process of the wing leadership, as well as see the principles they live by and use as touchstones in their decision making, Courtney said.

"Regardless of what I do or where I go, the lessons and skills I've learned in this job are going to set me up well," Courtney said.

Without the diligent efforts of the wing's exec, the well-tuned, decision-making machine could grind to a halt.
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.