December is typically the month when writers of regularly featured columns wax nostalgic and engage in a certain amount of prognostication. This year I enlisted the help of Lt. Col. Jennifer Grant, the 2SOPS/CC at Schriever AFB, the home of GPS, to help us with our year-end review and crystal-ball gazing as we look ahead to the GPS horizon. Lt. Col. Grant reminisces about her first 16 months as 2SOPS/CC, reviews numerous major accomplishments, and updates us on the status of the GPS constellation as well as the often overlooked, ever contentious and always seemingly in flux critical Command and Control (C2) segment.

By way of introduction, I first met Lt. Col. Grant when she was assigned to the Command Suite at Headquarters Air Force Space Command at Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and served under the four-star commander General Robert Kehler, who is now the commander of USSTRATCOM (United States Strategic Command). At the time she impressed me as being intelligent and insightful. Her professional reputation as a perfectionist certainly supported that assessment. The next time I met Jennifer, we were both wearing different hats and serving in different roles.

Several of us on the GPS Independent Review Team (GPS-IRT) were sent by General Kehler to Schriever AFB to check in with the new 2SOPS/CC and see if we could offer her any assistance. This is a role we, the IRT, have played many times in the past, and just like the old saw concerning Inspector General (IG) visits, our mantra was and is “…we are only here to help…that’s our story and we are sticking to it.” Regardless of the perception or even trepidation over our visit, Jennifer and her staff were extremely supportive and it was abundantly clear that Lt. Col. Grant was drinking from a fire hose and doing more than surviving. She actually seemed to be handling it well and possibly even enjoying herself. While she was not new to Space Command, she was new to the GPS.

More than a year later, I and another IRT member paid Lt. Col. Grant another official visit and the transformation was nothing short of amazing. Did I fail to mention that she is also known as a quick study? In 16 months’ time Jennifer went from the new kid on the block in GPS operations to a sophisticated, erudite, extremely knowledgeable and passionate advocate and supporter of the GPS and all aspects of 2SOPS operations.