COMMENTARY: Team Buckley needs interdependence

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    When I think of a word that defines teamwork, one term stands out: interdependence.

    A common definition used in Professional Military Education for interdependence is purposeful reliance on another entity to accomplish a mission. Interdependence is a fundamental part of teamwork. Any team truly relies on one another to accomplish a mission.

    Interdependence has many manifestations – in our squadrons, in a joint setting and as a team right here on our base. On Buckley, interdependence starts right at our gates.

    We rely on our defenders to do their job each and every day. The fact many of us do not stop to realize is our defenders provide a safe and secure area for us to work 24/7, no matter the weather or situation, that allows us to do our jobs. Think of a day without the protection our 460th Security Forces Squadron provides. Would it be the same? Our defenders do their jobs so well, in fact, they provide something truly valuable: the ability to focus entirely on our part of the mission. We are purposely reliant on our security forces to provide security, safety, peace of mind and access to our work areas.

    Another part of the team we cannot do without is our 460th Civil Engineer Squadron.  The 460th CES provides many services that make our job possible, but one thing especially important that we all use: spower. Despite the talent of our Airmen, we cannot do our mission without the power provided by CE. Think about it, what happens when you lose power? Very little, right? We are purposely reliant on our CE personnel, not just for power, but also plowing our roads in bad weather and maintenance and upgrades to our facilities, to name just a few. Many of the things CE provides are often taken for granted until they are gone. The truth is, we rely on these services to be there every minute of every day and CE does a great job of making that a reality.

    This allows the 460th Operations Group the ability to also operate 24/7. The OG’s core mission is to provide missile warning for our nation, U.S. Strategic Command’s number-one priority mission. It takes a lot of different folks to make a 24/7 mission work 365 a year. A multitude of space operators, instructors, evaluators, contractor personnel, satellite communications experts, administrative and support personnel inside the restricted area are all key to making this “no fail” mission happen. Missile warning has the potential to save thousands of lives downrange, and the team we have provides a distinct advantage that other nations wish they had. 

    Speaking of advantages, think of a day without our computers or networks. The 460th Space Communications Squadron is another great example of interdependence. They give us computer and network access, as well as secure and normal communications, and they do it with tremendous skill to keep hackers and bad actors at bay. Think about the amount of work you do on your computer each day that requires network and phone access. It is staggering, isn’t it? This doesn’t happen without our folks in the 460th SCS. Although sometimes behind the scenes, we all know what happens when we don’t have computers or good communication.

    Not much happens when we aren’t feeling well either, and that is where the 460th Medical Group comes in. The 460th MDG’s job is vitally important, but not something we automatically think about until it is badly needed. Imagine if our medical personnel weren’t there and we had to take care of ourselves. Not a good thought at all! If there is an organization who literally has our lives in their hands every day it is the medical community.  We trust our doctors and a whole array of medical professionalss to keep us healthy.  We also rely on them to save our lives, at times, and the lives of those closest to us.  If that isn’t the very definition of purposeful reliance, I don’t know what is.  More of our teammates provide critical support to our base that is just as important, but sometimes behind the scenes.

    Finally, when I think of interdependence I think of our 460th Mission Support Group and the folks in our Wing Staff Agencies. We rely on them for some of our most important life and career events, although we don’t always stop to realize it. Our 460th Force Support Squadron folks ensure we get service members and civilianss here on assignments, ensure our evaluations are processed correctly, and issue Common Access Cards that allow us to function, to name just a few. Services ensures we have fun things to do with our families and friends. Without our finance folks, we don’t get paid, and,s let’s face it, everybody wants to get paid! We don’t get our operating budget without the budget folks who work long and hard to ensure we have the funds to continue to operate. We also don’t get needed contract support for our missions without our folks in contracting. Lastly, our Wing Staff pulls a lot of entities together to make this base work, all of which are interdependent.

    I can’t mention all of our base units, although I would like to, but the point should be clear: everyone’s job is critical, and interdependency is required do our mission. So, thank you to our defenders for providing security, peace of mind and the access to our areas. Thank you to the 460th CES for the power, infrastructure work and for long hours clearing roads in the winter. Thank you to the 460th SCS for the computer access that enabled me to write this article and to the 460th FSS for the Common Access Card I used to log on to my machine. Thank you to the OG for providing warning to a lot of folks in harm’s way and across the globe. We all sleep well knowing you are there.

    Thank you to finance for processings the pay that puts food on the table and to our contracting team for being such an important part of what we do. Thank you to Wing Staff for the long hours of behind-the-scenes work you do to pull it all together. Thank you to the 460th MDG for keeping us healthy and getting us back on our feet when we aren’t. Thank you MSG for the great assignment, for the outstanding support you provide and the awesome services that our families enjoy. Most of all, I am thankful for interdependence – the purposeful reliance on our teammates right here at Buckley Air Force Base.