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Dual hats for dual commanders

photo of Col. Ericka Farmer-Hill

Col. Ericka Farmer-Hill

photo of Col. David Wilson

Col. David Wilson


Col. Ericka Farmer-Hill, 50th Mission Support Group commander and Col. David Wilson, 21st Mission Support Group commander took on the role of Peterson-Schriever Garrison vice commanders effective Feb. 1, while maintaining their roles as MSG commanders.

This comes as a response to the U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operation’s priorities for “empowering a lean and agile force,” as outlined in his planning guidance. In early September 2020, Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, USSF CSO, asked the P-S GAR commander to eliminate the MSG echelon, which would help push the garrison closer to meeting that priority.

“The purpose of this reorganization is to find efficiency through a lean organization and accelerate change,” said Wilson. He added that the intent of eliminating organizational layers is to streamline how leadership supports and empowers the squadrons to respond rapidly to evolving mission requirements.

Some additional responsibilities that accompany the garrison vice commander role are receiving all delegable authorities in the garrison commander’s absence, chairing the Commander’s Action Team, authorizing civic leader base access, approving base training agreements and making the final decision on the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board.

P-S GAR is not the first to employ an organizational change in the name of efficiency. Most notably Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, restructured the 366th Fighter Wing in 2018. By reorganizing, the fighter wing removed group commanders so squadron commanders would report directly to the wing commander, which provided a stream-lined communication chain. In September 2020, the unit tackled a new Personnel Accounting Symbol to solidify the reorganization of the wing.

While dual-hatting the responsibilities of MSG commander and P-S GAR vice commander, both individuals will divide their time between the functions and responsibilities of both offices. However, they are both excited to get to work and help shape this new force to benefit the garrison and mission partners.

“We both have manpower shortfalls, to include SMEs [Subject Matter Experts] in certain areas,” said Farmer-Hill. “We can use our dual-hatting to leverage expertise across the garrison, as well as help each other with related shortfalls. It’s a win-win for our teams and those we support.”

Wilson shared the same sentiments, stating this wouldn’t be possible without the support of MSG and garrison staff.

“These are exciting and challenging times,” said Wilson. “I am thrilled to be at the leading edge of enhancing distributed base operations. Being dual-hatted as the 21st MSG commander and P-S GAR vice commander allows us to expand efficiency to provide leadership and support to all levels within the garrison.”

According to Farmer-Hill, regardless of where they are stationed, they intend to provide leadership and assistance to both bases as needed.

“We get to take lessons learned from our collective 40 plus years, and help build and support a lean and agile force ready to provide space capabilities to the joint force,” said Farmer-Hill. “The only thing constant is change, and through it all, the commitment of our Airmen and Guardians to excellence has not waivered. It’s an honor and a privilege to serve among champions.”

Wilson hopes through these new positions he and Farmer-Hill will be able to facilitate a cultural change in communication and support to help achieve integrated garrison support.

“I have seen firsthand the phenomenal job our Airmen and Guardians are doing each and every day,” said Wilson. “As we continue to build upon the foundation of excellence we will remain committed to focusing on how to provide support to power global operations for every single mission partner.”