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Air Force secretary sets sights on space

by Tech. Sgt. Kate Rust
Air Force Space Command Public Affairs

5/16/2007 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFPN) -- "Setting the strategic conditions for victory starts right here in (Air Force) Space Command," said Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne as he visited here May 7.

Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, the AFSPC commander, met with the secretary for an office call and several briefings, focusing on the command's mission as well as current training initiatives.

"Space is approaching a $200 billion global industry," General Chilton said. "The world has come to depend heavily on space."

AFSPC continues to be there for the nation and the world, Secretary Wynne said. 

Clearly a priority, the general led the day's discussions with space professional development. And National Security Space Institute representatives provided background and training status information to the secretary.

"We were very proud to present the success of the Space Professional Development Program, since it is critical to enabling the command's priority of developing and retaining people with the necessary expertise," said Maj. Denise Harris of the Space Professional Management Office at AFSPC. "It is an Air Force-level program focusing on career development, which ensures we have highly competent, motivated Airmen with the depth and breadth of skills to deliver space power."

When the discussion turned to retaining space professionals, the secretary indicated he is "pushing hard to make professional training relevant to personal goals." 

As it stands, it can be problematic to pursue a graduate degree due to course availability and funding, according to the Space Professional Management office. The command has a number of initiatives, which includes a space certificate pilot program and online distance learning.

"Once you're in space, the bug hits you, and you don't want to leave," Secretary Wynne said referring to careers based around space operations. "To offer advanced academic degrees in the space fields could help secure professionals beyond 25 years to 35 and even 45 years."

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