New Commander Leads Air Force Cyber Warriors

Monday, April 09, 2012

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The 50th Network Operations Group welcomed a new commander during the April 4 change-of-command ceremony in the main fitness center.

Col. Jonathan Sutherland assumed command of the 50 NOG from Col. Michael Finn, who will be assigned to a 365-day deployment to Afghanistan. Hundreds of Airmen and civilians were on hand to witness the ceremony and welcome the former chief of Enterprise Services Division, Force Structure, Resources and Assessment Directorate at the Joint Staff, Pentagon.

"I stand here before you with a tremendous sense of pride, as well as a tremendous sense of humility, because not too many people can be part of this awesome team," reflected Finn.

Before handing the reigns off to the new commander, Finn had final words for the group.

"You cannot do this job without having an emotional attachment to the mission and the people," said Finn. "That's probably what I'm going to walk away with as the most rewarding experience."

Col. James Ross, 50th Space Wing commander, officiated the ceremony.

"As we say goodbye to one great commander, we welcome another to Team Schriever," Ross said. "Colonel Sutherland is an outstanding Air Force leader and will do a superb job continuing the NOG's successes."

After Ross officially handed the NOG guidon to Sutherland, Sutherland addressed his group.

"I can't tell you how proud I am to stand up here and take the reins for a group with such an amazing mission, with incredible people and a similarly impressive lineage of past commanders," Sutherland said. "I am both thrilled and humbled to be your commander."

His excitement is a reflection of the people he now commands.

"[The 50 NOG] has such a great reputation within our space and cyber communities in our Air Force and I can't tell you how many times I've heard during the past few months just how lucky I am to be associated with this group. We will no doubt be challenged during the next few years with our amazing day to day mission."

As commander of 50 NOG, Sutherland is responsible for 1,500 military, Department of Defense civilian and contractor personnel assuring access to space and cyberspace by operating and maintaining the $6.2 billion Air Force Satellite Control Network and the $100 million communications and information gateway.

Sutherland was commissioned as a distinguished graduate of Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and has held various command positions in the past, including 48th Communications Squadron, RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom; 1st Communications Squadron, Langley Air Force Base, Va.; and 633rd Communications Squadron, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.

Sutherland holds master's degrees in Business Administration, Military Operational Art and Science and National Security Strategy.

His decorations include a Defense Meritorious Service Medal, four Meritorious Service Medals, two Joint Service Commendation Medals, four Air Force commendation Medals, a Joint Meritorious Unit Award and a National Defense Service Medal with a bronze star.

Source:  Staff Sgt. Robert Cloys, 4th Space Operations Squadron

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