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AFSPC commander conducts first commander's call

Peterson AFB, Colo. -- Air Force Space Command personnel crowded the halls of the headquarters building Friday to listen to the first official address from their new commander, Gen. William Shelton Jan. 7.

During General Shelton's commander's call, he spoke to the HQ AFSPC staff on several subjects including his top three priorities for the command, his greatest concerns for the upcoming years, and his delight in stepping into the role of commander.

"I couldn't be happier to be here," he said. "There was only one job in the Air Force that I wanted and it was this job; and I was fortunate enough to get it," General Shelton said while expressing how happy he is to be back in the area.

He began his address by laying out his priorities, the first of which is "to support the current fight." General Shelton emphasized the staff's moral obligation to support their brothers and sisters who are in the fight, to "make their lives better and bring them home safely."

Secondly, General Shelton hopes to gain control of the cost of space systems. He admitted that AFSPC costs are "must-pay bills" because our nation depends so heavily on space systems for national security, however, he encouraged the AFSPC staff to "redouble efforts to control bills" in any way possible so other areas of the military don't suffer.

His third top priority is to "normalize and operationalize cyberspace operations." He explained the space business went through the very same process when it first emerged and now it is time for the cyber business to do the same.

"The rest of the Air Force needs to recognize that when we put out a Cyber Tasking Order, it is just like an Air Tasking Order or Space Tasking Order. It has the same kind of authorities and the same kind of expectations in terms of responses by the operational commands," General Shelton explained.

With these top priorities, General Shelton recognizes that HQ AFSPC has a lot of truly important work ahead, but he hopes it is "fun work," all in support to the operational units.

"We are going to be about producing excellence within the command and we're going to be about supporting the field," he said. "Frankly, staffs are built to support the field and not the other way around."

He explained the staff's goal should be to create the circumstances for field commands to be successful. "They are the ones running operations on a day to day basis, flying satellites and truly executing the mission," he said.

While field operations are occurring outside of the headquarters building, the planning that occurs inside is also critical, especially in light of recent budget cuts, he said. "We need to be cost-conscious with all we do," General Shelton said.

"The days of free resources are long gone," he said, and there is a need to be more efficient, reduce costs, and to look for savings wherever possible.

Lastly, General Shelton expressed his concern for the increasing suicide rates in the Air Force, which have not been linked to any single factor but rather a collaboration of stresses on Airmen and their families. He said that it "calls for us to be Wingmen like never before." He encouraged building "resiliency and balance into our lives in order to be better prepared to deal with the struggles of life."

In line with the Wingman concept, General Shelton emphasized that "we are all valued members of the team - every one of us," and suicide prevention is critical to our team's strength.

General Shelton values every member of the AFSPC team and is excited about the endeavors of the coming years. "I think we're going to do some great stuff over the next few years here," he said in closing.