JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-CHAPMAN TRAINING ANNEX, Texas – Leaders within the 960th Cyberspace Wing gathered in-person and virtually here Nov. 16-19, to meet and discuss the future of Air Force Reserve Command’s only cyberspace wing.
The COVID-19 pandemic predicated the use of virtual platforms for both summits held in 2020. The 960th CW commander, Col. Richard Erredge, said it was important to make them happen, despite the challenges of meeting social distancing requirements and virtually connecting Airmen from all over the world.
The main goal of the last leadership summit was to confirm the wing and groups’ mission and vision statements, along with the top three priorities. Erredge said that for this summit, his goal was to lay the foundation of his leadership philosophy and better align units in the wing with those same strategic priorities.
“Historically we try to get together every six months, with a different focus each summit, because it allows us to synchronize messages, network and ensure alignment,” Erredge said. “For this one, we’ll get some training down, set the expectations for the unit effectiveness inspection in June, and continue the discussion about what the future looks like for our wing.”
Over the course of four days, commanders, chiefs, first sergeants and more, discussed a range of topics falling under the umbrella of the three strategic priorities, which are: empower Airmen and their families, optimize readiness and execute the mission.
For example, on the first day, Tech. Sgt. Demica McIntosh, 36th Medical Operations Squadron Mental Health NCO in charge, successfully facilitated a virtual Four Lenses Assessment from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, with participants of the leadership summit. During the assessment they learned their own strengths and weaknesses, along with the strengths and weaknesses of their peers; the goal being to empower and encourage them to embrace diversity and inclusion initiatives in the Air Force.
Other topics covered were information warfare, professional development, information operations and inspector general UEI progress and vectoring.
960th CW Command Chief Master Sgt. Brian Bischoff said this was an environment where leaders gained great insight and information on critical topics, but they also exchanged ideas and concepts which allowed them to grow in real-time.
“By having junior officers and enlisted Airmen engaging with senior leaders, it provides context in the decision making process and gives them a better appreciation of how and why decisions are made,” Bischoff said.
For instance, a topic of discussion during the summit was metrics for strategic alignment. Streamlining tracking mechanisms and determining specific analytics and what data to measure can have a direct effect on the decisions made by leaders in the wing. The goal of this discussion was to optimize technology and innovate changes to meet readiness requirements.
“This summit provided an open and ongoing dialogue that will continue to foster transformative ideas and concepts into reality, impacting the way we fight in the future,” Bischoff said. “The people at this summit are our current and future leaders. As we continue to expand their apertures and allow them to have access to similar and different ’tribes’ within the wing, they will grow in ways we cannot fully foresee at this time.”
Focus wasn’t entirely on Airmen and objectives within the wing, however. There were also some keynote speakers invited in virtually who explained how the 960th CW fits into the big picture of Air Force cyber strategy in order to execute the mission.
One such speaker was Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, 16th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) commander, who said he’s looking to the Reserve, specifically the 960th CW, to fill the current and future needs of cyber.
“We are a continuum together,” Haugh said during his presentation. He also noted that he has seen a seamlessness in integration of how talents that come from the 960th CW are leveraged.
According to Haugh, Air Force cyber is working to posture itself to better address the demands of the National Defense Strategy by driving the Air Force to operate more in the competition phase, as opposed to waiting until the conflict phase of warfare.
“The main focus should be how our Airmen can help shape what data analytics looks like in the Air Force,” Haugh said. “How can we leverage our members to solve the current problems of how to sift through the datasets and make it useable for the command? We have this talent and this talent can accelerate change in our field.”
According to the leadership summit logistics team lead, Tech. Sgt. Dominic CalvilloGonzales, 426th Network Warfare Squadron, a part of that growth and accelerating change is the development of culture.
“The leadership summit accelerated the culture of the wing by showing leadership they are supported from the top,” CalvilloGonzales said. “I feel our leaders are fostering a culture of compassion and understanding, which will drive us to succeed in accomplishing the mission.”
The 960th CW’s mission is to ‘Provide combat-ready Citizen Airmen to dominate cyberspace,’ and its vision is ‘Cyber dominance! Any time, any place, any domain.’