An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

HomeNewsroomNewsArticle Display

Article - Article View

21st Space Wing holds first 2016 Commander's Call

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - Col. Douglas Schiess, 21st Space Wing commander, speaks to Peterson Airmen during his first commander’s call of 2016. During the commander's call, Schiess summed up 2015 and discussed his goals for 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Philip Carter)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - Col. Douglas Schiess, 21st Space Wing commander, speaks to Peterson Airmen during his first commander’s call of 2016. During the commander's call, Schiess summed up 2015 and discussed his goals for 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Philip Carter)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - Peterson Airmen listen as Col. Douglas Schiess, 21st Space Wing commander, speaks during his first Commander's Call of 2016. During the commander's call, Schiess summed up 2015 and discussed his goals for 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Philip Carter)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - Peterson Airmen listen as Col. Douglas Schiess, 21st Space Wing commander, speaks during his first Commander's Call of 2016. During the commander's call, Schiess summed up 2015 and discussed his goals for 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Philip Carter)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Col. Doug Schiess, 21st Space Wing commander, gave his first commander's call of 2016 by summing up 2015 and touching on topics involving every Airman: mutual respect and family.

Col Schiess used a video from the Profession of Arms Center of Excellence Heritage collection to kick off the call. The piece was titled "Mutual Respect" and pointed out that while the Air Force is a diverse group of more than 300,000 people, each one brings something to the mission that deserves the respect of brother and sister Airmen. While Airmen don't salute each other, as equals, they deserve a salute of mutual respect and honor.

Following the video Schiess began his look back at the last year.

"2015 was a great year, but there's a better year ahead in 2016," he said.
The first item from 2015 was the wing inspection. Schiess used the analogy of painting grass or fertilizing it. Fertilizing, or regularly taking care, is the way the wing will operate, doing our best each day and not waiting until right before inspections to get things in order. By getting into a system where the wing inspects itself and asks the question "are we doing the right things?" the entire process will be smoother.

In addition, Schiess said every Airman is a sensor, encouraging them to communicate good ideas to their bosses. He asked for good ideas to be passed upward about things like what can be done better or even what kinds of things should not be done.
"We should not do what doesn't make sense," Schiess said.

Next he addressed last year's climate survey. Schiess was pleased at the participation from members of the wing where 47 percent of surveys were completed.

"I don't think I've ever seen a participation rate this high," he said. The goal was a 25 percent response and a completion percentage of 30 percent was the hope.

Overall the results were good and compared favorably with numbers from the entire Air Force. However, there were a few things revealed in the survey that concerned him. One of the comments Schiess brought forward was that wing members believed there was no or little feedback about the results of sexual assault cases. He acknowledged the desire to know those things, but said there are legal aspects of doing so that must be considered. In light of that, Schiess said wing leadership is working through the issue and they are working on options to be transparent with future discipline decisions.

Some of the more than 350 survey comments Schiess addressed included those related to career development and mentoring, as well as overall wearing down of Airmen. He said there is room for improvement in the career development area. There are many opportunities and not all of them are formal ones. Schiess encouraged people to look for and cultivate relationships, sharing examples from his own experience when mentoring took place outside of a formal setting.

"It all comes down to personal relationships," he said.

Results in three areas - emotional, physical and emotional wearing down - were especially on the minds of wing leadership. He understands that with a smaller Air Force and more responsibilities being added to many jobs it is taxing. Schiess asked people to let leadership know what types of things are needed and not needed to fulfill the mission.

Ending the survey results on a positive note, Schiess said he is pleased with the feedback related to various forms of discrimination. All of those categories, including racism and sexism, were in the single digits for percentage of respondents saying they experienced discrimination. Schiess said he would like to see these all the way to zero, but he was pleased the numbers were very low.

The next topic on his agenda was strategic vision. Schiess wants everyone in the wing to reflect on their work and think about what can be done better. Winning today's fight is very different he said, and everyone needs to focus on the vision of unrivaled space superiority - driving excellence and innovation today and tomorrow in a culture of dignity and respect.

"We are a very diverse wing of 4,000 plus people and all parts are valuable," he said.
Next, Chief Master Sgt. Idalia Peele, 21st Space Wing command chief master sergeant, addressed the call. She said 2015 was a year full of changes.

"About every month we rolled out a change," Peele said. "Hopefully it will be smoother sailing," now that some of the bugs are worked out.

Peele also discussed the recent Enlisted Forced Distribution Panel. She said leadership will be sending out information based on the feedback from the panel to help supervisor's understand what the panel looks for so they can help their deserving Airmen be competitive.

Debbie Schiess, Col. Schiess' spouse, spoke about getting families of deployed Airmen connected to resources they need during the deployment. While taking part in various events she discovered that spouses had little idea about what deployment-related resources are available to them.

She encouraged deploying Airmen to make sure spouses have the information they need. Mrs. Schiess said she knows there is a lot on a deploying Airman's mind, but suggests they take their spouse, personally, to the Airmen and Family Readiness Center instead of just pointing to it or telling them where it is. First sergeant and Key Spouse contact information should also get to spouses so they can reach out in emergencies. Mrs. Schiess is going to be out encouraging spouses to attend pre-deployment briefings too.

Fittingly, the event closed with a video about the importance of family and how the Air Force is one big family.

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