General Hoene bids farewell to Hanscom, 350 ELSW

  • Published
  • By Monica D. Morales
  • 66th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Striking a balance between productive team work and ardent team spirit isn't always easy, but for 350th Electronic Systems Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Pete Hoene it is high atop the list of successes he cites as his two-year tenure at the wing draws to a close.

"We get the job done, but we've also generated a tremendous amount of spirit and camaraderie in this wing," the general said during a recent interview. "We push this hard because the mighty 3-5-0 is the best in show."

This week, the general departs Electronic Systems Center to fill the post of the Defense Information Systems Agency Joint Program Executive Officer for Command and Control.

As commander of the 350 ELSW, General Hoene leads a 1,300-person organization, and manages a $14-billion portfolio of programs that develop, field, and sustain command and control and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities for combatant commanders, special operations forces, and joint and allied partners worldwide.

Under the general's leadership, the wing has achieved many program accomplishments, some of them, he said, hard to quantify because they reach well beyond the scope of ESC. 

"Over the last two years we have delivered time and time again a number of key capabilities to help identify and destroy terrorists' targets, to help protect the homeland and to provide the tools and capabilities to the combatant commanders to support their missions," he said.

Among them is work done on the Combined Air and Space Operations Center, the C2 Data Pilot - which required collaboration with United States Strategic Command - and major strides to develop and field the next generation of the Distributed Common Ground System.

The 350 ELSW also directly touches the cyber world. A squadron-sized unit that is part of the 950th Electronic Systems Group located in Texas, for example, is working to prevent computer network attack and provide computer network defense and exploitation capabilities.

This work, General Hoene said, is the centerpiece of what will be needed for the Air Force's Cyber Command and is also an example of a wing-to-wing working relationship forged with another ESC organization. In this case, the 350 ELSW's work provides support to the 653rd Electronic Systems Wing which holds the cyber mission as part of its portfolio.

The wing's work has also reflected support of the Department of Defense Net-Centric Data Strategy that calls for a move away from point-to-point legacy systems and toward systems operating in a net-centric environment.

"We're migrating away from the legacy, tightly coupled programs developed in the past toward a foundation for all of our C2 and ISR programs to make the data and information visible, accessible, and understandable to any authorized user that needs it real-time," he said.

It's with the same vigor that is evident in speaking about program milestones that the general talks about the wing's esprit de corps.

"I think we've pushed other organizations to step up their wing spirit a few notches. I'm delighted to see that spirit catch on throughout all the other wings," General Hoene said. "A little friendly competition goes a long way, and I love to see the camaraderie it generates across ESC."

The wing's spirit has emerged throughout the years and at various base events like the 2007 ORI pep rally, quarterly awards breakfasts and even in the annual base holiday card competition. Not surprisingly, the 350 ELSW held the title as winner of ESC's annual spirit trophy, from 2007 to this year.

In addition, the wing's resume includes winning Shiely, Wright and O'Neill awards for the best program office two years in a row.

The transition to his next assignment at DISA, General Hoene said, will go smoothly thanks to his work and experiences at Hanscom's 350 ELSW.

Many of the systems that the Air Force delivers as its contribution to the C2 arena come from the wing already - primarily its 350th Electronic Systems Group. For that reason, he said, he has been appropriately prepared on two different levels.

"I come to the job not only knowing the systems, but also knowing the people and the customers," the general said. "I'll also come equipped with the technical expertise to understand how they interact, which is a big advantage."

When not busy with the work of the wing or readying for his next job, the general has also made the time for mentoring - a career element he places great value in and that he feels he's benefited from himself.

This year, for example, he acts as a mentor for a group of Air Force Academy cadets and lieutenants. Among his messages to them is that opportunities within the Air Force do exist, even if the path you end up on isn't the one that you expected or it doesn't leverage prior experience or desires.

"I try to emphasize to them that my entire career is replete with those types of jobs and in each one of them I said to myself, 'I need to keep my nose to the grindstone, plow ahead and do the best job that I can,'" he said.

With pride in his voice, the general said he doesn't want the spotlight on him individually, but more appropriately on "the great people of the 350 ELSW" and their everyday contributions to the warfighter. He's witnessed, he said, many examples of tremendous leadership from staff sergeants to colonels, and from every rank and grade in between.

"In many, many cases I feel most proud about unleashing the human potential of our people, especially those who might not have otherwise gotten the opportunities," General Hoene said. "To see them rise to the occasion and not only deliver, but do so in a magnificent fashion, is truly rewarding."

General Hoene said that his assignment at Hanscom has been an excellent one, and that what he will miss the most is the people of the 350 ELSW, ESC and the great men and women of the Hanscom community.