Dominate your high ground

  • Published
  • By Col. Chris Crawford
  • 21st Space Wing commander
Greetings Knights of the 21 Space Wing.

Your leadership team has been working over the last month, recapturing the essential mission and vision of the 21st Space Wing. Some of you may not be aware of the span and diversity of our unique wing. We currently have 39 units in 31 locations. We are present in eight countries across 14 time zones. We have facilities in 16 states and we are expanding into new missions and locations as I write. Our goal and challenge is to present a message that concisely and precisely describes the 21st SW in a way that every Knight could identify, comprehend and embrace as their own. This week, I am proud to unveil the new mission and vision for the wing.

21st SW Mission
Operate and sustain global missile warning and space control capabilities and installations to dominate the high ground for America and its allies

21st SW Vision
America's most innovative and disciplined space wing -- leaders, globally postured to dominate the highground

First of all, let's discuss the wing mission. We are a flagship wing in every sense of the term. No other wing in the Air Force is so diverse in its mission areas and geographic footprint. We ensure the safety of our nation and its allies through a complex network of radars that span the globe and provide an umbrella of missile warning that envelops most of North America. We ensure freedom of action in the ultimate high ground by maintaining myriad space control capabilities. We track, catalog and identify more than 8,500 man-made objects that orbit earth as well as the ever increasing number of new objects that are placed into orbit weekly.

In addition to the missile warning and space control capabilities our wing provides, we are also singularly unique in the fact that we maintain six separate installations across the globe. No other wing in the Air Force can claim anything even close to the global diversity of the 21st SW.

Domination of the high ground is a value that is voiced in the mission and echoed in the vision. Historically the high ground is the position of control, a tactical and strategic advantage that is universally valued. Possession of this position often determines the outcome of a battle. Every Airman has a high ground they must dominate. Whether your primary duty is ensuring base safety by guarding a gate, securing the flightline, sustaining logistics and readiness or executing food preparation in the dining facility, we all have a high ground that we must master and dominate at all costs, or risk critical mission failure. Contemplate your primary duty, identify your high ground and ensure that you are doing everything you can to improve your capability every day. Posture yourself and your fellow Knights for success. Leadership, innovation and discipline are the core elements to the past, present and future success of the 21st SW.

As previously stated, the vision of the 21st SW has three distinct characteristics that are vital: leadership, innovation and discipline. Every Airman is told they are the leaders of tomorrow. The truth is that you are the leaders of today. In your primary duties, shops and mission areas, you must own your responsibility to lead; not only lead but to facilitate a mindset that fosters innovation. We need to lead our respective mission areas from the front, set the tempo and push our capabilities to new heights. To paraphrase Gandhi, we must lead by becoming the change that we seek.

In this fast-changing and complex world, nothing remains static. If you are not progressing, you are regressing. We are constantly asked to do more with less; less manpower, less money and fewer resources. We must constantly adapt, overcome, and continue developing new capabilities. We must be open to new more efficient and effective ways to execute our daily mission. We must extract every gram of capability from our weapon systems and resources. To not embrace innovation is to risk becoming ineffective and irrelevant.

The third element of the 21st SW trinity is discipline. Discipline ensures critical tasks are executed precisely and reliably every time. Discipline is not blind compliance with a checklist, but a mental state that relies upon critical thinking, problem solving and expertise in your profession. Discipline is the weaponizing force that refines innovation into bombs-on-target reality. Innovation without the discipline in execution is a waste of effort.

The wing's global expanse may give an individual the impression that the Knights are already globally postured to dominate the high ground, but the 21st SW vision is a goal not yet attained. In addition to our geographic presence, we must strive to achieve a global posture of readiness. We must be postured to project our disciplined and innovative military capabilities to any corner of the globe at any time required.

Finally, I hope you take time this month, as we pause to remember the events of 9/11, to recall the events that transpired 10 years ago, the lives that were taken and the lives that were given for our nation. Honor those who paid the ultimate price in our nation's defense. Reflect upon the importance of the work this wing does to ensure the freedom and safety of our nation against those who would wish to do us harm. I hope that you all can identify with the mission we execute daily as we endeavor to achieve our vision to dominate the high ground, so that our nation remains the land of the free and the home of the brave.