16 IS welcomes new commander

  • Published
  • By 445th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
  • 445th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 16th Intelligence Squadron, 655th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group, held a change of command ceremony honoring the outgoing squadron commander, Lt. Col. Barbara Givens, and welcoming the incoming commander, Lt. Col. John Durkee, on June 4, 2022.

Lt. Col. Givens assumed command of the 16th Intelligence Squadron, located at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, Sept. 12, 2020.  She led the squadron through the COVID-19 pandemic while safely executing the mission.

During her time in command, Lt. Col. Givens focused on transitioning the unit to the Distributed Common Ground Station (DCGS) NextGen model and meeting the vision and intent of the Department of the Air Force A2/6 Cryptologic Language Analyst Optimization. Lt. Col. Givens’ team built the OPERATION INGLORIOUS BADGER training certification process, conducting a complete overhaul of mission training and allowing the 16 IS to lead the way for total force training. More than 5,000 hours of developmental training prepared Air Force intelligence analysts to become national security professionals, dedicated to lines of effort supporting Combatant Commanders.

Additionally, Lt. Col. Givens and her staff built a plan to transition the unit to the Air Force Reserve Command-directed language emphasis areas. Despite the impacts of the global pandemic, the 16 IS maintained readiness and supported 25 National Security Agency and “True Blue” Air Force missions by executing 3,402 Military Personnel Appropriation (MPA) and over 3,000 Reserve Personnel Appropriations (RPA) days.

Durkee, a graduate of USAF Weapons School and the National Intelligence University, previously served as the IMA to the Chief, Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Force Management Branch, Intelligence Directorate, HQ AFRC, Robins AFB, Georgia, where he provided training and education support to 3,300 Reserve members across the AFRC Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Enterprise. Concurrently, he served on long-term MPA tours for USAFE-AFAFRICA Intelligence Directorate as Chief, ISR Special Programs Planner at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Lt. Col. Durkee was the lead ISR planner for the command’s highest priority joint live-fly exercise.

Lt. Col. Durkee, who served as the 16 IS Assistant Director of Operations in the past, expressed his excitement to be back with the Honey Badgers and emphasized his passion for what our citizen airmen bring to the total force mission. 

Commenting on Lt. Col. Givens, Col. Mulder highlighted her leadership, warmth, empathy, and focus on the mission. In addition, she noted the effectiveness of the 16 IS when meeting mission demands, all while maintaining the lowest complement of full-time support staff under the 655 ISRW. Finally, she praised Lt. Col. Givens for the outstanding accomplishments of the men and women of the 16 IS, all while adapting to new mission requirements during an on-going pandemic.

Col. Mulder highlighted how Lt. Col. Durkee’s experience in the Distributed Common Ground System operations, various ISR operations, and staff officer positions make him the right choice to bring 16 IS into its next phase of operations. She charged Lt. Col. Durkee with leading the unit with honor, integrity, and a passion for the Airmen under his command.