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Chief's Corner: CMSgt Karmann Pogue

Woman poses for a photo.

U.S. Space Force Chief Master Sgt. Karmann Pogue, Space Delta 10 Space Doctrine, Tactics, Lessons Learned, and Wargaming senior enlisted leader, poses for an official photo at the studio on Schriever Space Force Base, Colo. Chief Master Sgt. of the Space Force Roger A. Towberman ensured all USSF chiefs were digitally connected on Signal app. This app allows USSF chief master sergeants to text, call, and communicate as a team of chiefs. (Courtesy photo)

People pose for a photo.

U.S. Space Force chief master sergeants pose for a photo at the first-ever USSF Senior Leader Summit at the Pentagon, Washington D.C., June 14, 2021. “The Guardian Ideal not only defines our USSF core values of character, connection, commitment, and courage, but it also outlines five objectives on how we, as a service, are managing talent, and strengthening the trust, transparency, and accountability of our teams and Guardians,” said U.S. Space Force Chief Master Sgt. Karmann Pogue, Space Delta 10 Space Doctrine, Tactics, Lessons Learned, and Wargaming senior enlisted leader. (Courtesy photo)

PETERSON SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. --

It’s been under a year since the Chief of Space Operations, Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, unveiled the Guardian Ideal, the Guardian Commitment, and the U.S. Space Force core values of Character, Connection, Commitment, and Courage.

As the nation’s smallest and newest service, we expect a lot of our leaders, and even more so from our smaller top 1% of the enlisted force, the chief master sergeants. Currently, in the USSF, there are roughly 50 chiefs serving, Airmen and Guardians combined.

We are expected to have intellectual prowess and always be ready to give sage advice around complexities like building out a new service, welcoming Inter-Service Transfer teammates to the family, standing up new processes and organizations and establishing new policies.

We must have the charisma and character to develop our organizations, teammates and culture, and demonstrate the technical and operational know-how to translate strategic guidance and intent into actionable plans for the nation’s newest military service.

Taking our core values and what is captured in our services’ first doctrine publication, Space Capstone Publication: Spacepower, “…the USSF values organizational agility, innovation and boldness empowering small teams to rapidly learn and adapt.” This community of USSF chiefs embraced these terms and values as leaders and upgraded our leadership approach as a digitally-connected team.

 

CONNECTION

Like any great team leader, Chief Master Sgt. of the Space Force Roger A. Towberman and Team 1 ensured that all USSF chiefs were digitally connected on a group chat that allows us to text, call, and communicate as a team. The text group was established before the Guardian Ideal and core values were published and it’s how we as chiefs have been connecting every single day.

As stated in the Guardian Ideal, “…unprecedented and digitally enabled connectedness will underpin our success.” CMSSF Towberman ensured that we would not tackle any of this alone, but as a team. Staying connected as team allows us to have the One Team, One Fight mentality, support each other, prepare our teams for the challenges that we will face and work to make sure we all have the technology, information and training we need to do what we do.

Our text group and our larger digital connection to our Airmen and Guardians, like Microsoft Teams, has allowed for everyone across the USSF, not only the chiefs, to drive collaboration, knowledge-share, build relationships, and be more productive. What other service do you know of where a junior enlisted teammate can reach out digitally to any of our senior enlisted leaders and ask a question? Questions about permanent change of stations, promotions, career field progression, professional development, or transferring from one service to are typical questions we receive where our answers and insight can be shared instantaneously with the force. We as a team have made this the new norm in our service; we have made this a reality. The more connected we are as a team, the more capable and successful we will all be.

 

COURAGE

It’s important to have the courage to ask for help when you need it. Our digital connectedness provides a platform for us to lean on each other. We ask each other about the issues affecting our teams. We reach out and hold each other accountable for how we should build our service and take care of our teammates, and how we should take care of ourselves. We boldly ask questions about how we should advise and inform our formations on policies and directives that affect us.

There have been several times where I typed a question out in the ‘Chief Chat’ and deleted it because I didn’t want to sound stupid, or highlight to my peers that I don’t know something, or that I’m struggling. I know that we’ve all had a moment in our careers and lives where we’ve refused to ask for help when we could have really used it because we didn't want to appear weak, or unknowledgeable, or just stubborn.

Regardless of our age, rank or life experiences, asking the question or asking for help on something you don't understand or when you need it most, personally or professionally, is a sign of courage. So ask away, send the text and be courageous.

 

CHARACTER

The chiefs have placed trust in each other over a digital platform, in a text group. One of the most incredible things is, there are some chiefs that I had never met in person, but because of the trust we have placed in each other and the bonds that we’ve built over 1’s and 0’s.When we finally met in person, it only strengthened our connection and commitment to the team.

I know that in our ‘Chief Chat,’ we’ll always receive honest replies, hold each other accountable and figure it out together as a team; unlocking, unleashing and strengthening character traits in ourselves and each other. It’s incredible to know that I have 50 other teammates I can count on any time, any place, in person or via text. It’s vital to build a network of friends, teammates and mentors at work and early in our careers who are supportive of not only your efforts, but the team’s efforts. It’s important that they be there to support and cheer ‘the good things’ and step in or speak up to help avoid ‘the bad things,’-fortifying those bonds of trust.

Whatever your age, rank or experience, building character is a process of lifelong learning that involves experience, patience, leadership, followership and a constant dedication to growth and maturity.

 

COMMITMENT

Our digital connectedness over a text group has strengthened our commitment to each other and our teams. We share, support and celebrate each other, our loved ones and our teams. We check in and celebrate milestones, like birthdays, anniversaries, retirements, the standing up of new units, and all the incredible things that our teams are doing. We also reach out to ask for opinions, we openly share ideas and content to gather diverse viewpoints or challenge our own bias, sometimes receiving candid feedback.

Our commitment to recognizing and utilizing our character strengths and diversity as chiefs and leaders allow us to push ourselves and our teams to new heights. It affords us a greater appreciation of our wins and milestones, given us a deeper understanding of the challenges and obstacles that our teams face, connected and committed us to solving the hard problems, all while allowing us to foster and increase the digital strength and reputation of our team.

With these elemental core values, all members have the foundation to drive our culture and shape our service. Coupled with continuous open dialogue and feedback from the field, our team of chiefs must work together to solve challenging problems and create an enduring alignment for our new service. CMSSF Towberman once stated, “The leader’s job is not to know the answers, but to ask the questions.” So when you look over and see your chief on their phone, they just might be asking a question to cultivate growth for the USSF with the strength of 50 other chiefs coming through digitally.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui