NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. --
Reflecting on progress, emphasizing the importance of Core Values, and looking toward the future of the Space Force, Chief Master Sgt. of the Space Force Roger A. Towberman delivered his final keynote address as the highest enlisted senior leader of the service to a crowd of Guardians and Airmen at the Air and Space Forces Association’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference Sept. 12.
Towberman framed his address around the themes found in the hit Hollywood movie Moneyball—the importance of picking a winning team and changing the game. “Every day we come to work in my office, we’ve come to work to change the game, to change the world,” he said.
As the first CMSSF of the first new branch of the armed services since 1947, Towberman had the unique challenge of shaping the guiding principles that make up the service. “…We knew we needed values. It seemed like a good place to start,” Towberman said.
In creating those values, Towberman put together a team of “experts,” consisting of retired and senior enlisted leaders and officers, to help shape them and solicited the assistance of Guardians to help in their creation. This collaboration would later result in the values being known as the 4 Cs—Character, Connection, Commitment, and Courage.
“We didn’t just sit in a room with these experts,” he said. “We had Guardians help us every step of the way - telling us what they value, telling us what they wanted to value, telling us what was important to them and giving us feedback on our process.”
Those values became the guiding principles in the development of the Space Force’s handbooks, the Guardian Ideal and Guardian Spirit, which serve as foundational documents and guiding principles for every member of the Space Force.
“Our 4 Cs matter to me. I know they matter to all our Guardians,” he said. “What makes them unique is not what they are—a lot of organizations have values; all the services have values. What makes them unique is that we have an opportunity to weave those values into everything that we do.”
Stressing this point, Towberman highlighted the Space Force’s newly established Polaris Awards, given to Guardians who live up to the service’s Core Values. He spoke on the updated promotion board charge which have been rewritten to focus on the Core Values.
“We were able to weave our Core Values into our promotions…to say, whatever you’re doing, you should be doing it through these 4Cs,” and he praised how the Core Values have shaped the services basic training curriculum. “If you visit Space Force Basic training, it’s the most beautiful, undiluted Guardian experience that you could possibly have,” he said. “They’ve just created an experience that feels different. And to those new Guardians, that’s what matters.”
Closing out his address, Towberman introduced the Space Force’s incoming Chief Master Sgt. of the Space Force, John F. Bentivegna, who will succeed him September 15 in a change of responsibility ceremony. Towberman expressed his confidence in Bentivegna’s dedication to the same values and vision that have driven the Space Force forward, stating that the force is in capable hands.
“The number of people in the Space Force and Department of the Air Force that care about the things I care about and are passionate about the things I’m passionate about and will be willing to do the work to make those things happen after Friday [his retirement] will be exactly the same number as it is today minus one. That’s pretty much still everybody.”
Towberman concluded by reflecting on his time in the service and expressing his gratitude to all those who contributed to his journey. He reflected on the importance of relationships and thanked each member of the audience for shaping his story.
"If I am to be remembered at all, I hope it is through 1,000 different stories of 1,000 real relationships that I had with 1,000 different people,” he said. “So, God bless the Air Force and God Bless the Space Force. Semper Supra.”