The commander of Air Force Space Command spoke of the growing role of space in today’s military, as well as the importance of the Airman completing the mission during a visit here May 18.
VANDENBERG AFB, Calif. -- General Lance W. Lord spoke with Airmen here May 18 about the role they play in providing space capabilities in support of national defense.
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VANDENBERG AFB, Calif. – The commander of Air Force Space Command spoke of the growing role of space in today’s military, as well as the importance of the Airman completing the mission during a visit here May 18.
Though some may not fully understand the importance of the space mission, its applications are becoming more and more evident to both military members and civilians, said General Lance W. Lord.
“Many of our operations aren’t very visible, which can make it easy for people to assume that certain things just happen on their own,” he said. “But it’s great to see a growing number of individuals becoming more understanding, appreciative and interested in what we do.”
One of the keys to protecting AFSPC capabilities is to ensure Airmen performing the space mission know how their day-to-day tasks affect the rest of the world, General Lord said.
“We entrust the completion of our missions to some of the youngest people in the Air Force,” General Lord said. “Maintenance, flying and connectivity are all critical functions. We need them to perform in order to move forward.”
Practical explanation is the key to showing Airmen the importance of their mission, General Lord said, citing the example of a Galaxy 4 spacecraft losing its Earth orientation in May 1998.
When the spacecraft’s lock with its signal on Earth was broken, it caused a rude interruption in the everyday lives of many Americans, General Lord said.
Pagers went offline. Many credit cards were useless. The signal that usually travels through the ground connection and is bounced from a satellite to a central billing node was absent.
This event showed people how much depends on the operation of space assets, General Lord said.
Even members of the civilian work force rely on assets, such as the timing signal of the global positioning system, used to synchronize many of the world’s transfers. One millisecond here or there could mean a lot of money lost during a transaction, the general said.
As the role of space grows in the warfighting effort, as well as the civilian world, so will the appreciation and understanding of that role, General Lord said.
“It’s great to be here and see how much more effective our warriors have become in the remarkable mission they perform everyday,” General Lord said. “They protect our assets and ensure are capabilities are maintained, which is crucial to our job of protecting America.”