HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Brig. Gen. Michael Schmidt took leadership of the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks directorate here today, taking the reins from Maj. Gen. Dwyer Dennis, who retired in a separate ceremony later in the day.
The change of leadership ceremony was officiated by Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, military deputy of the Office of Assistant Secretary of Air Force for Acquisition.
Distinguished guests from base leadership, other directorates, political offices, community and industry partners as well as families of the incoming and departing C3I&N leaders attended the ceremony at the Hanscom Aero Club hangar.
“My job is to clear a space so that people who work these important programs can innovate on tough issues,” said Schmidt. “This job is new, and it’s a complex subject. My background is in planes, and weapons and sensors. Those are easy compared to the systems we manage here.”
Schmidt became the Program Executive Officer for a $10.9 billion portfolio. He will oversee 2,200 personnel at two primary operating bases, Hanscom and Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, as well as several smaller offices throughout the continental United States
“People who work here know what they do,” said Dennis, who was visibly emotional during his final address. “Look at the systems we impact. There is not a mission the Air Force does that can happen without this unit. Everything is about networks and data.”
Schmidt returns to Hanscom, which was his first assignment as an officer in 1991. He last served as the PEO of Fighters and Bombers at Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He named four separate personnel whom he has worked with at previous assignments, including Michael Canavan, now chief of electronic systems development at C3I&N, who was Schmidt’s first sponsor when he arrived at Hanscom in 1991.
“This can be a tumultuous time for the enterprise,” said Bunch,. “You’re losing a great leader. But, I want everyone in C3I&N to rest assured that you’re getting a great leader. Follow and support him, and you’ll see us taken to even greater heights.”
Bunch recounted many of the recent successes of C3I&N, from bringing the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node to Program of Record status to shifting many Air Force applications from government-owned servers to cloud services.
“This team is key to making sure we continue to dominate in air, space and cyberspace,” said Bunch. “This team is also key to achieving [Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. Dave] Goldfein’s objective of fully networked combat systems.”