GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas: The morning of Sept. 30 saw 20 officers receive intelligence specialty badges upon graduating from the Air Force intelligence officer course here.
There are multiple classes held each year, but the Sept. 30 graduation had a special twist: it was the first time the Air Force deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance was on hand to award the graduates their badges.
It also happened to be the DCS for ISR’s last day on official active duty.
Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, the Air Force’s first DCS for ISR, traveled to Goodfellow AFB to spend his last day in the Air Force by passing the torch of service from his generation to a new one.
“There’s nowhere else I’d rather be than here today,” General Deptula said. “Intelligence is a career field that’s always been important, but (it’s) one that’s absolutely critical to the difference between victory and defeat in our struggles of today and in meeting the challenges of tomorrow.”
Over the past four years, General Deptula has led a transformation in the way the Air Force views ISR.
“The evolution of technology and information underlies the ISR transformation we’ve accomplished in our Air Force, and it underlies my motivation to move the Air Force away from a culture that’s tended to segregate operations and intel, to a culture that embraces the integration of intel and operations,” the general said.
General Deptula instituted organizational, policy and personnel changes that have led to increases in Air Force ISR, capability including an increase in the number of remotely piloted aircraft orbits by more than 550 percent since mid 2007.
Under his tenure, he established the first DCS/ISR organization, and stood up the Air Force ISR Agency.
The general revamped the Air Force intelligence enlisted personnel structure, created new training programs to advance Air Force intelligence analytical skills and instituted an array of professional ISR development programs. He added Air Force human intelligence units, centers of excellence for targeting and ISR, and championed growth in intelligence personnel roles during a period of overall personnel reduction.
The 17th Training Wing commander thanked General Deptula for his vision and leadership.
“We thank you for being with us today, your last day on active duty, to help graduate our new intelligence officers into the ranks of ISR operations,” said Col. Tom Geary, the 17th TRW commander. “Your vision transformed Air Force ISR and it certainly changed warfighting. You’ve often said, ‘ISR is operations;’ and ‘ISR is the currency of the future (warfighting).’ Thank you for leading ISR. Thank you for leading Airmen.”
General Deptula told the new graduates that “while today we honor you as a select group of individuals, let me remind you that you are part of a larger team: a team of Airmen from all career fields and at all levels — and from other services and governmental agencies as well. This teamwork makes us the most dominant force on earth — the force that the rest of the world still looks toward when tyranny, terror or tragedy strikes.”
The general offered to change places with anyone in the class.
“I would love to do it all over again, as the Air Force has truly been a great way of life,” he said.
(Courtesy of 17th Training Wing Public Affairs)