Becoming the new commander of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center was something of a homecoming for Col. Parker H. Wright, but not because he has the same last name as the brothers who famously made Dayton first in flight.
Wright commanded a signals analysis squadron for NASIC at Wright-Patterson Airforce Base from 2010 to 2012. So when Wright looked out at the crowd during his change of command ceremony in the National Museum of the United States Air Force on Thursday, he recognized some of the Airmen gathered there to see him take control.
“It’s nice to be back,” he said after the ceremony. “I know my way around the building, I’ve seen a lot of friendly faces. So, I think it’s just re-establishing, reconnecting and re-grounding on what our mission is.”
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NASIC is the U.S. Department of Defense’s main source for information on foreign air and space threats, according to the agency. It is based at Wright-Patt, which employs more than 27,000 people making it the largest single-site employer in Ohio with an estimated $4.2-billion economic impact annually.
The 101-year-old wing of the Air Force conducts analysis to keep the White House, Congress and the Pentagon aware of air, space and cyber threats. The work of its more than 3,000 Airmen and employees includes analysis of North Korea’s nuclear missile tests, among other threats.
“NASIC, right here from Dayton, is able to impact every single operational plan that any combatant command has around the globe,” Wright said. “At the same time, we’re influencing decisions at the highest levels of our government and informing congress on future policy.”
In assuming command of NASIC, Wright leaves his prior post as the commander of the Joint Intelligence Operations Center Europe Analytic Center, Royal Air Force in Molesworth, United Kingdom. While there, he led over 1,200 active duty and reserve members of the military, according to NASIC.
Outgoing NASIC commander Col. Sean P. Larkin was also honored during the Wednesday ceremony. Larkin is heading to Washington, D.C. where he is set to become the director of Defense Engagement for the Director of National Intelligence.
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Wright’s appointment as commander of NASIC on Thursday marks his third commander role in a row which is “something of an anomoly in the United States Air Force,” said Lt. Gen. VeraLinn “Dash” Jamieson, the presiding officer for the change of command ceremony.
“I am reminded of the 49ers in the ’80s, the Cowboys in the ’90s and…more recently what the Patriots have done,” she said of Wright. “Parker, you have established your very own command dynasty with back to back to back commands.”
Competition between world powers and the potential for space to become a “war fighting domain” mean NASIC could see its role in threat-assessment expand, Wright said.
As those issues continue to emerge, Wright said NASIC will be “squarely in the middle of some very important discussions” and he’ll be there to help its Airmen take it on.
“I’ll take some time to learn and then we’ll get after it because there’s not a lot of time to waste,” Wright said. “I’m ready to get going and excited about it.”
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