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The future is bright

Col. Richard Erredge, 960th Cyberspace Wing commander, stands for an official photograph Aug. 18, 2020, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

Col. Richard Erredge, 960th Cyberspace Wing commander, stands for an official photograph Aug. 18, 2020, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-CHAPMAN TRAINING ANNEX, Texas -- Despite the turmoil in our world and unrest in our country, I am optimistic about our future. Chief Master Sgt. Brian Bischoff, our command chief, and I have been asked some tough questions by many of you, and I thought I should share my thoughts.

 

As the world becomes more dependent on cyber, our nation’s leaders are becoming increasingly aware of the need to defend and exploit it as a basic tenant of our national security. You’ve seen, heard and read about our Air Force leaders committing to a number of digital initiatives designed to posture the AF to compete against our adversaries focused on exploiting cyber to their key advantage. 

 

We have to be ready to respond to that threat. 16th Air Force has been activated to focus on integrating the total force Information Warfare enterprise to converge operations to solve complex problems. In response to the war of cognition, the 67th Cyberspace Wing has reorganized its offensive cyber operations force and the 688th Cyberspace Wing is on a transformative path of its own. 

 

Additionally, in April 2020, the Air Combat Command commander issued an IW priorities memorandum that outlines the missions and roles they want the Guard and Reserve to pursue. These changes can lead to opportunities for our wing to fill critical mission gaps, bring new capabilities to the fight and leverage civilian experiences to create outcomes. Alignment with the missions directly called out in the National Defense Strategy is where we need to shift.

 

The fiscal environment is constrained and uncertain. This will require the Air Force Reserve Command corporate process to make difficult decisions; some of which may impact our wing. It’s too early to understand if and what impacts may happen, but rest assured your leadership team is working extremely hard to align our wing with relevant and compelling missions in direct support of the NDS.

 

As we consider all of the above, we’ve started to conduct a mission analysis to help us understand the realm of the possible. The 688th CW has invited us to be a part of their transformation efforts; to make sure we have a voice in shaping their new organization. 

 

In addition, we are working with our partners to review missions we should divest or areas we should shift to better align skills and capabilities with requirements, capacity and resources. The AF Reserve end-strength will likely not see an increase, so we need to ensure our contributions are a good fit for Reserve Citizen Airmen.

 

Certainly these initiatives and opportunities do come with some challenges as well. Change is a challenge in itself. Those not invested in change can make the implementation difficult and derail the entire effort to get us there. We will be faced with some difficult decisions, and those decisions will impact people and mission-partner relationships. 

 

But we’re in the people business and we take care of people first. There will be opportunities for training, leading and solving problems; even if those opportunities for growth extend outside of our wing.

 

In summary, I think the future is bright because of what you and your families bring to the fight every day. I’m very excited about the opportunities to synchronize your collective know-how with our AF colleagues, who have a vested interest in our success. Our senior leaders are excited about, and invested in, what you can do and have challenged us to grow our Reserve cyber capacity. 

 

We will continue to communicate facts with you as we know them. If you have questions please send them our way, we’ll be happy to address them.

 

Chief Bischoff and I are inspired by your dedication to the mission and your passion to serve!