EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
As we continue to confront the COVID-19 threat to us, our families, our community, and our Nation, I’d like to take a few moments of your time to share a quick snapshot of what’s been on my mind as your Installation Commander.
First, this unprecedented situation does not change the fundamental priorities I expect of any organization I lead… Safety, Security, Mission. When safety is solid and our security is too I spend the balance of my focus on mission. Mission includes many items from my current chair, but one of those is execution of the “named mission” of the 412th Test Wing… “test”. However, it also includes the mission to ensure the installation of Edwards AFB is a resilient platform that enables all the other missions that utilize our amazing installations. Yes, plural: “installations” as we have Edwards AFB and Air Force Plant 42 as our foundational installation assets. However, when we can’t ensure security with a nominal level of effort, I expect leaders at all levels to divert the resources required from mission execution to ensure security. Similarly, I expect the same leaders to treat safety as their top priority. Only when we are safe can we ensure security and only when we are safe and secure can we generate the mission. My priorities for the 412th Test Wing, in order, are… Safety, Security, Mission.
As many of you know, spending this week and the foreseeable future leading Edwards AFB through the COVID-19 “storm” was not how I anticipated spending much of my time the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th weeks in command of the awesome 412th Test Wing. The opportunities to meet many of you in person and to learn more about what you do at The Center of the Aerospace Testing Universe (T-Cot-A-TU!) will just have to wait until we’re on the back side of this “storm”. And that’s the correct priority. As I emphasized in my speech at the Change of Command, I need us all to COMPETE! And the way we COMPETE! today in the rapidly unfolding COVID-19 environment is blindingly different than the way we competed just 4 weeks ago. As you recall, the National Defense Strategy calls us all to Compete, Deter, and Win! That still holds true during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
As we press forward into this COVID-19 “storm” I need you to take care of yourself – practice exceptional personal hygiene, cover those coughs, apply rigorous social distancing practices, and stay home if you are sick! I need to you to care for your families and your wingmen, knowing they’re also watching your six. Then I need you to expect to use your innovative DNA and build agile new ways to maximize the capability at Edwards after this COVID-19 “storm” and the recension of our Health Protection Condition – Charlie plus Public Health Emergency status. If you can move any part of our missions forward every day during the “storm”, even just a small increment, I commend you for doing so. If you are a part of the core mission of the Installation, you are always at least mission essential and most of you remain mission critical; these COVID-19 times are no different. Many of us as Airmen are being utilized for and will continue to be tasked to augment portions of the installation mission execution teams like Security Forces, the UCCs, the EOC, the CAT, the MCC and many others.
MATTHEW W. HIGER, Colonel, USAF
Commander, 412th Test Wing (AFMC)