AFSPC Command Chief ‘Talks the Talk’ on First Visit to Base
By Peggy Hodge, SMC Public Affairs
/ Published March 09, 2007
Los Angeles Air Force Base -- Chief Master Sgt. Michael Sullivan, Air Force Space Command's Command Chief, paid his first visit to the Space and Missile Systems Center and Los Angeles Air Force Base, Feb. 28 - March 2 and shared his thoughts.
Chief Sullivan defined his position at AFSPC and what he sees as his role, his views on how AFSPC troops are contributing to the Global War on Terror, quality-of-life initiatives that top his list, and what he expects from the enlisted force.
"I look at our enlisted force as an inverted pyramid where my job is to serve our Airmen and enable them to execute the mission. Our job in Air Force Space Command is to equip our Airmen to accomplish the mission we ask them to do. And they are heroically performing those missions.
"That doesn't put me at the top. That puts me at the bottom of that pyramid in a supporting role. And although it is a leadership position--a position that requires me to go out and carry the general's vision--I feel just as much I'm a representative of those Airmen I work for everyday."
The Chief also talked about how AFSPC troops contribute to the Global War on Terror.
"What most people miss when they think about Air Force Space Command is the tremendous value our nation possesses in forces that aren't thought of, or advertised very often. These are the Airmen in the Command's missile fields. The nuclear shield that is provided by some young brave Americans out there in harsh conditions day after day, on long tours away from their families, is all too often lost.
"These Airmen contribute to our ability to execute the Global War on Terror. And we need to make sure we focus on them and thank them for what they do as often as possible.
"They enable everything else that occurs in the United States military in a global perspective. Without them, we would not be able to execute missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, or anywhere else.
"And with the Air Force Space Command's active integration with U.S. Central Command's combat forces, we have 15 satellites 'parked' over Baghdad everyday, we track satellites and other space objects from 56 different countries. There are 450 satellite operational missions executed daily in CENTCOM alone. This all directly effects the Global War on Terror."
Chief Sullivan addressed the quality-of-life initiatives that top his list.
"Despite the fact that Air Force Space Command doesn't top the list in combat casualties, how we take care of our wounded Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Coastguardsmen is my number one quality-of-life priority. Because as a nation, how we take care of our veterans, and, especially, our wounded veterans, influences everything we do as a military. This has been my number one priority for me since I got the job.
And it's the right focus regardless of uniform, regardless of service.
"My next priority is making sure those people who are serving this command have adequate access to quality childcare and housing, because those things are what make them capable of coming to work and focusing on our mission from day to day.
Importantly, the Chief directed his attention to his expectations of the enlisted force.
"I have an expectation at every level of enlisted leadership to invest in the development of the next generation. As chief master sergeants, I have an expectation of them to personally engage with our senior NCOs, personally hands on, eyeball-to-eyeball, with the UPRG open to review top to bottom, what they've done, what they haven't done, what career goals they have and what development and opportunities exist--career- broaden them and make them better prepared to fill the roles of chiefs as they move on.
"I challenge our senior NCOs to do the same with our junior noncommissioned officers. I've challenged our junior noncommissioned officers to invest in our Airmen. And I challenge our Airmen to hold each other accountable.
"All too often, we have Airmen who will watch their counterparts fail and not think it's their problem or their responsibility to engage. We really need to focus on developing our Airmen as leaders before they make staff sergeant.
"We often allow our Airmen to just be Airmen until they're selected to become noncommissioned officers. And then we send them to an Airman leadership school and hope that during this academic process they're going to learn to be leaders. I expect a more engaged and proactive approach to developing leaders while they're Airmen so they're ready for those challenges when they assume the rank of staff sergeant.
"I've been in Air Force Space Command since 1 August and I've been to every major installation in the command now--there's not one place that I've been where I have been disappointed in our Airmen. It has energized me and lifted me up in a way that I didn't anticipate when I first started the job."