ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, TENN. – July was a busy month at Arnold Air Force Base, with Col. Rodney Todaro passing the AEDC guidon over to new Commander, Col. Scott Cain.
As a way to introduce himself to the workforce at Arnold, Col. Cain provided information through a “Who am I?” presentation during a recent Commander’s Call meeting.
One of Cain’s first comments emphasized the importance of colleagues interacting and knowing each other.
“We need to be connected,” he said. “We need to know each other as Airmen.”
He went on to clarify that his definition of “big A, Airman” includes uniformed members, civilians and contractors alike.
Born and raised in Michigan, Col. Cain said he was a big fan of University of Michigan sports teams.
“I was born in Michigan and I still have family there,” he said. “But I didn’t actually go to University of Michigan. I went to the Air Force Academy and was an operational F-16 [Fighting Falcon] and F-117 [Nighthawk] pilot.”
“I had some time flying those weapon systems before I moved on to flight test.”
Cain also mentioned he went into test pilot school and conducted flight tests with the F-16 and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
He has served at Edwards Air Force Base twice, Holloman Air Force Base, and the Pentagon, before landing at Arnold.
“I love it here so far,” he said.
And while he’s served in many places across the Air Force, Cain stated the most important aspect of his life is his family, which consists of his wife Michelle and two children.
“Family is my number one priority, both personally and professionally,” he said.
Cain noted that his family enjoys being outdoors, “which makes Tennessee a nice place for us to be.”
He further added that in their down time they also like to explore, going to the beach, fishing, hunting and camping.
“We’ve already been catching fish near Arnold Village,” Cain said, showing a photograph of his son with a bluegill.
After his personal introduction, the Commander commented on the individual choice of the members of Team AEDC.
“First, whether you’re in a uniform or not, I want to thank you all for your commitment to the Air Force and your nation,” he said. “You had a choice in what to do and you chose to serve. I sincerely thank you for that.”
“What we do at AEDC is so important to the nation and our commitment to that mission is vital.”
He also stated that he expects the AEDC team to perform the mission with integrity.
According to Cain, his plans can be broken down into three main categories: mission, sustainment and transformation.
“As for the mission aspect, I want us to focus on how AEDC enables the future of the Department of Defense and the industry, all while ensuring that we execute the mission safely,” he said. “We have a lot of unique organizations across AEDC, and I want us to operate the mission as a wing but also preserve our cultures and capabilities across the Complex.”
Cain explained the sustainment portion incorporates the people and the infrastructure of AEDC.
“We have an Infrastructure and Modernization program already in place and I want us to continue to concentrate on that,” he said. “On the people side of that, I want people to be connected to the mission and ensure all of AEDC, whether government or contractor, understands how their role is tied to national defense.” Another point he mentioned was the AEDC workforce working as a Combined Test Force.
“I will fully support the CTF but also want to synchronize the efforts of the military, DOD and contractors so that we continue to get the job done for our customers.”
Cain also plans to capitalize on the talent in the region but also would like to attract talent to Middle Tennessee and AEDC.
Lastly, as part of his transformation focus, he envisions the development of a “long view of the Complex” regarding the future of AEDC.
“Our vision currently states we will ‘Be the Nation’s best value test and analysis source for aerospace and defense systems,'” Cain said. “I believe this is a good vision and I definitely want programs to come here because of our test and analysis capabilities, but also for our product, which is our people and processes. We need to invest in our people too.”
For now, the Commander is trying to take in his new surroundings, but at the same time, is keeping an eye on the future.
“I’m thinking in terms of decades, and developing AEDC for the 100-year Air Force and the 100-year Arnold. We need to be investing in a way that keeps the Complex viable and effective for decades to come.”