Col. John E. Hyten may be the new 50th Space Wing commander, but he is not new to Schriever.
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SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Col. John E. Hyten may be the new 50th Space Wing commander, but he is not new to Schriever. Having spent the last 10 months as the 595th Space Group commander, he’s had a chance to see the wing from an up-close point of view – a point of view that will serve him well in his new job.
“I know looking at the results of the ORI, the wing is doing great,” said the colonel who assumed command April 4. “I’m excited to be a part of this wing and look forward to getting first-hand experience with the mission. I want to see how everybody’s doing and I want to be sure I don’t break things that are working well. I don’t expect to be making a lot of changes up front.”
The colonel’s biography details the extensive ground he has covered in the space business. This experience has given Colonel Hyten solid ideas about leadership and the direction he sees for 50th Space Wing.
“I am a patient person,” he said. “But I expect the job to be done right – and done right the first time. Anything you do deserves your best effort. I believe in having a well-rounded life and appreciate the importance of family and friends. But when it comes to work, the work we do here impacts the entire world. Anything less than our best efforts cannot be accepted.”
Colonel Hyten looks forward to walking around the wing and meeting the people. He wants them to talk to him about whatever is on their mind.
“I want people to talk to me,” he said. “I especially want to hear what our young folks have to say.”
He places communications as one of the most important roles performed by a commander. “Communicate – over and over again if necessary,” he said. “It is a vital key to doing our mission. A unit that communicates is whole lot better than one that doesn’t.”
Communication, creating understanding and a sense of mission focus are all part of Colonel Hyten’s overall goals.
“My primary focus is – and always will be – our deployed Soldiers, Sailors, Airman and Marines fighting overseas. This should be everyone’s priority in this wing.”
The colonel views the wing’s mission in this way: “Everybody in this wing does one of three things,” he said. “You protect what we are doing, support what we’re doing, or you fight the weapon systems that we operate.”
By fight, he said, operators need to fully understand everything that happens with their weapons systems. It is expanding the roles of satellite operations beyond “flying satellites.”
“You fly a satellite, but you fight a weapons system,” he said. “For example, if you’re flying a satellite and something goes wrong, you call an engineer to help fix it.
If you’re fighting a weapons system and something goes wrong, you first determine if someone is trying to deny your capability and then you figure out how you will fight through it.”
This viewpoint comes from Colonel Hyten’s background in space control. Although his career has allowed him to work in nearly every aspect of military space, he said if he had to pick one area of expertise, it would be space control.
“Space control starts with first, being aware of your surroundings in space; second, defending yourself against [anything] denying your space capabilities,” he said.
In this time of current world situations, he said it is vital for every member of the wing to understand the critical roles the missions here play in global events.
“The bottom line is, we are operating weapon systems, and those systems are designed to support the war and to end the global war on terrorism,” he said. “We’re going to be in it for a long time, and we have to make sure that everything we do focuses on that war.”