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1st Space Brigade commander delivers State of Brigade

FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Col. Thomas James, 1st Space Brigade commander, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, speaks to his Soldiers and civilians during a State of the Brigade at the Special Events Center here Oct. 2, 2015. (Photo by Dottie White)

FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Col. Thomas James, 1st Space Brigade commander, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, speaks to his Soldiers and civilians during a State of the Brigade at the Special Events Center here Oct. 2, 2015. (Photo by Dottie White)

FORT CARSON, Colo. -- The 1st Space Brigade commander recently conducted a State of the Brigade that focused on transition and innovation.

Col. Thomas James, commander, 1st Space Brigade, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, spoke to his Soldiers and civilians at the Special Events Center here Oct. 2.

"Understand the environment that we live in is changing and you're in a position where you can affect that change," said James. "This brigade is very much like that. I think more so than any brigade in the United States Army.

"Why this brigade is different than a lot of brigades in the Army is because our whole reason for being is the technologies and the knowledge in our brains that can take those capabilities and turn them into effects on the battlefield," he said. "And we understand things about the way the Army operates and how those technologies can help the Army that the rest of the Army struggles with."

James said the brigade's Soldiers should be the ones to worry about getting the right technology to the rest of the Army, and that it will take innovation to achieve.

"Until we can get funding to get better capabilities, how we try to stay ahead of the threat is through innovation," he continued. "I think it is important that we don't get trapped in the paradigm. We don't become complacent in the way we approach our business. And just because it's the way it's always been doesn't mean it's right. When everything around you is telling you, 'you need to change,' you should listen to that."
James also discussed the Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley's top three Army priorities - readiness, future Army and taking care of troops.

"Readiness is the number one priority for the Army," James said. "The reason we have the United States Army is to be able to go and fight the nation's wars and win the nation's wars. To do that, we have to be ready.

"[Milley] also talks about the future of the Army," he continued. "He recognizes the Army is an Army that is in transition and is transforming. We're changing and we're trying to improve as we change. We need to listen and be aware of our surroundings and take advantage of those opportunities to be innovative and to change.

"And the third (priority) is to take care of our troops and take care of ourselves," said James. "We take care of our Soldiers, our civilians and our families. Our collective strength depends on our people.

"We have to be very cognizant of how we take care of each other. We need to make sure that we are mentored correctly, that we are postured for promotion in advancement correctly, that we are trained correctly, and that our finances are taken care of. And that's what the leaders of this brigade have to focus on. And down at the Soldier level, it's taking care of your buddy, taking care of each other."

James also discussed his own tenets for being a space trooper.

"We have to take care of each other. This is a family. Like all families, we have dysfunctions. We are people and we have things we have to work through. But at the end of the day, you should feel like you are being taken care of by your family and you're helping take care of the Soldiers around you.

"We're Soldiers first and foremost, but we are technical and tactical experts," James continued. "What make us important is our technology and our skills at using that technology.  There is literally no other unit like ours anywhere."

James concluded by praising the excellence of the brigade's Soldiers.

"You have to take pride in being the absolute best at what we do," James said. "You're not going to find better missile warning individuals than we have in JTAGS (Joint Tactical Ground Station). You're not going to find better satellite control operators than we have in the 53rd."

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