Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

AFGSC commander visits MAFB, promotes force improvement

by Capt. Jeff M. Nagan
Minot Air Force Base public Affairs

2/11/2014 - MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- The commander of Air Force Global Strike Command toured Minot Air Force Base, Feb. 3-7, meeting with Airmen of all ranks and familiarizing himself with the mission during his first visit since taking command in October of 2013.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson and his wife, Nancy, arrived at Minot immediately following Nuclear Surety Inspections of the 5th Bomb Wing and 91st Missile Wing, which also recently completed a Nuclear Operational Readiness Inspection.

"There were pretty spectacular results for both the NSI and NORI," Wilson said. "We had a joint oversight team of independent outside agencies looking at how we do business. Across the board, both wings, the 91st and the 5th, just did a terrific job. Team Minot crushed it."

Wilson's visit also comes just weeks after reports of a test compromise at Malmstrom AFB.

"This was not a mission problem; this was an integrity problem amongst a small group of people that didn't uphold our core values," Wilson said. "A small number violated that integrity, and it caused us all to take a deep, hard look at how we do business. So we are."

Wilson's visit served as an opportunity to communicate to Airmen and community leaders about the Force Improvement Program, an AFGSC initiative to identify potential improvement areas and generate "grass root" solutions, Wilson said. The program involves four teams of experts from the operations, maintenance, security and mission support specialties going to each base to meet with their peers and work with them to identify challenges in their respective mission areas. Their recommended solutions will go directly to Wilson.

"The focus is on young company grade officers and [noncommissioned officers] who are in the business doing the job - they understand it better than anybody," Wilson said. "Let's take their ideas, let's look at it, and let's act upon those things."

The team's findings will be part of comprehensive plan on efforts aimed at improving the force, Wilson said.

"The only filter is me," Wilson said. "It's coming from those four groups, and it's coming direct to me. Those things that I can solve, I'm going to solve. Those that I can't, I'm taking to our Chief of Staff and Secretary of the Air Force. Those that they can't solve, we are taking to the Secretary of Defense."

The goal is to make lasting changes to make the Air Force better for the future, added Wilson.

"Over the last five years since standing up Air Force Global Strike Command, we have focused on this enterprise," Wilson said. "Those that came before have done some tremendous things for our Air Force and nation. We are on a journey, and we are going to continue that journey."

During Wilson's visit, he also highlighted four focus areas, aimed at improving each AFGSC base, not only impacting operations but also morale and education, he added.

"We're going to continue to focus on making sure we have a safe, secure and effective nuclear force," Wilson said. "Air Force Global Strike Command has two legs of the nuclear triad, the bomber and ICBM legs. We are going to make sure we are organized, equipped and trained to be able to do that to a high standard. We cannot take our eye off that ball. It's too important for our nation."

Every day, more than 1,000 of the 25,000 Airmen within AFGSC are deployed, Wilson said. It is critical that they are prepared, trained and equipped to perform that mission. However, the mission also depends on continuing to strengthen and empower the team, he added.

"We are going to continue the efforts of those before us," Wilson said. "We have reinvigorated, we strengthened, and now we are going to broaden and deepen our understanding of the culture as well as empowering those young Airmen and NCOs to do their job, making sure they understand they are part of an elite team of professionals."

Wilson's last focus area revolves around "shaping the future." This requires balancing the fiscal challenges of today with the need to modernize the Air Force inventory and ensure a trained and ready force, Wilson said. Equally important is a need to be able to effectively articulate that to policy makers within the Pentagon and Congress, he added.

Team Minot, which includes not only both wings, but also the community, is crucial to continuing MAFB's success, Wilson added. However, he said he leaves here knowing the mission remains in solid, capable hands.

"What I've seen here in this last week has given me a lot of optimism to see the people doing the mission, across the spectrum," Wilson said. "We have some unbelievably dedicated, smart, committed, Airmen passionate about their business doing some terrific work, 24/7/365."

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