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Goldfein visits Vandenberg AFB

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Robert J. Volio
  • 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein, recently visited Vandenberg Air Force Base to meet with base personnel and visit a portion of the Air Force Space Enterprise, from Jan. 29-30.

Goldfein began his visit at the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC), the operational command and control center for space which allows the Joint Functional Component Commander for Space to deliver nuclear command and control and communications, strategic missile warning and tailored space effects to the joint and coalition warfighter in theater.

There he received a combined mission brief from Lt. Gen. David Buck, who commands both 14th Air Force (Air Forces Strategic), the Air Force’s sole space component Numbered Air Force, and JFCC Space, the space component command responsible for global space operations under U.S. Strategic Command.

“The JSpOC is a great example of CSAF’s push for creating joint-thinking Airmen in practice,” Buck said. “The JSpOC, which is primarily composed of Airmen from the 614th (Air and Space Operations Center), provides a dynamic environment where Airmen cultivate a joint mindset and warrior ethos through training and operations as they seamlessly integrate with the joint and coalition force on the ops floor to deliver space effects to theater.”

Following the brief, Goldfein toured the operations floor and saw how, with the recent stand up of the Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center, a joint and interagency operations center focused on Battle Management Command and Control for space defense, the JSpOC had adopted a new focus. With the JICSpOC now responsible for protecting and defending space assets, the JSpOC has shifted its weight of effort toward maximizing space effects to all theaters of operation.

With this enhanced theater focus, the JSpOC is able to anticipate potential negative effects before they can affect joint and coalition forces and make appropriate adjustments to counter them. The JSpOC has also increased integration with theater air operations centers in planning and execution to ensure space requirements are correctly articulated and apportioned to meet joint and coalition warfighter needs.

“What Gen. Goldfein saw on the ops floor should have looked very familiar,” said Col. Michael Manor, the 614th AOC commander and JSpOC director. “As we have continued a push across the space enterprise to normalize operations, approaching the space domain no differently than air, land, sea or cyber.”

After touring the operations floor, Goldfein’s first visit to Vandenberg AFB continued over breakfast with Airmen at Breakers Dining Facility to get to know them and discuss the current and future state of the Air Force. He also received an aerial tour of Vandenberg AFB with base leadership to observe the 30th Space Wing, range assets, launch pads, and the recent wildfire damage. Goldfein concluded his visit with a base-wide all call to discuss his three key focus areas before holding a Q-and-A session for Vandenberg AFB.

“My visit has been spectacular,” Goldfein said. “I think we’re entering into a period where we’re going to have some very important and timely national-level discussions about space. As I proceed to jump into that dialogue and help lead it as chief of staff of the Air Force, there’s no better preparation than actually coming out, getting eyes on it and talking to Airmen who are doing it every day and can give me ground truth.”

Some Airmen seized their opportunity with Goldfein, providing a memorable experience and several valuable lessons.

“Having an opportunity to interact with Gen. Goldfein was an experience I’ll never forget,” said Airman 1st Class Lucy Rudat, a 30th Force Support Squadron enlisted promotion technician. “He truly cares about the young Airmen in the Air Force. He explained everything with precise detail and ensured we understood where he was coming from. Gen. Goldfein inspired me to become not only a better Airman, but a better individual.”

When asked about the growing number of missions being taken on by Airmen, the chief of staff discussed his plan to gradually increase the total force size.

“To be able to do what the nation requires, we need to have more Airmen,” Goldfein said. “If you take a look at our personnel numbers over time, we have done some pretty wild swings. I think it’s time for us to have a bit more stability. So I’m looking for us to grow at a measured rate to 350,000 over time. I’d like to increase Guard and Reserve personnel by about 3,000 and that will get us to a force size of about 700,000.”

Despite the potential challenges ahead, Goldfein expressed his confidence in the Air Force continuing to adapt and overcome.

“Adapting and changing is our history,” said. “Since 1947 we’ve been the barrier breakers. Those early pioneers – Hap Arnold, Tooey Spaatz, Hoyt Vandenberg – they took us to the next level and then Bernie Schriever brought on the whole business of rocketry which evolved into space capabilities and then from those space capabilities we actually adapted and moved into cyber. You take a look at the history of our Air Force, it’s all about evolving and adapting. I’m absolutely confident, adapting is in our bloodline. It’s what we do, it’s who we are. So I look at the future and say ‘bring it.’”

The chief of staff provided sage words of advice for the future leaders of our Air Force.

“Never forget there is a difference between character and reputation,” Goldfein said. “Character is who we are, how we make decisions and how we act, perhaps most importantly, when nobody is watching. Reputation is what other people think of us as they’ve watched us over time. I’m one that believes that if you focus on the first, the second takes care of itself. But the reverse isn’t true. So focus on being a man or woman of character and living a good life. For any Airmen I would say to understand that being a man or woman of character is a journey, not a destination.”

Before his departure, Goldfein thanked Vandenberg AFB for their tireless efforts during the recent wildfire and their decision to sign on the dotted line and serve their country.

“I’d just like to thank the Airmen, the civilians and their families for doing what you do every day,” Goldfein said. “The helicopter ride I took was very instructive to me. I didn’t truly understand the magnitude of what we could’ve lost until I saw it on that aerial tour. The heroic actions of our firefighters, our ‘Dirt Boyz’ and all the folks who prepared for the moment when all their training and all of their preparation was required to save this national treasure called Vandenberg. That’s now a story I look forward to telling others as I go around because it’s a tale of courage and dedication. Thank you for signing up and serving when your nation needs you most. I couldn’t be more proud to serve with you as your chief of staff.”