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Historical moment as Humphrey assumes command of WADS

commander salutes a general officer

Col. Scott C. Humphrey, left, salutes Lt. Gen. Kirk S. Pierce, the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Region (CONR)-1st Air Force (Air Forces Northern) commander, during the Western Air Defense Sector virtual assumption of command ceremony Aug. 6, 2020, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Due to COVID-19 health precautions, Pierce presided over the ceremony via teleconference from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Chief Master Sgt. Laurie Doyle, WADS senior enlisted advisor, holds the WADS guidon. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Maj. Kimberly D. Burke)

general officer talks at a podium

Lt. Gen. Kirk S. Pierce, left, the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Region (CONR)-1st Air Force (Air Forces Northern) commander, gives his opening remarks prior to Col. Scott C. Humphrey, right, assuming command of the Western Air Defense Sector via a virtual assumption of command ceremony Aug. 6, 2020, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Due to COVID-19 health precautions, Pierce presided over the ceremony via teleconference from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Maj. Kimberly D. Burke)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --

For the first time in the Western Air Defense Sector’s history, a prior enlisted WADS Airman becomes the new Title 10 commander.  Col. Scott C. Humphrey assumed command during a virtual assumption of command ceremony Aug. 6, 2020, in the WADS conference room located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

Lt. Gen Kirk S. Pierce, Commander of the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Region (CONR)-1st Air Force (Air Forces Northern), was the presiding officer for the ceremony. Pierce participated from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., via video teleconference due to COVID-19 precautions.

Humphrey replaces Col. Gregory R. Lewis, who transferred to the Air National Guard Readiness Center, Joint Base Andrews, Md., the previous week.

During Pierce’s opening remarks he explained that, “My guidance to you [Humphrey] is to help us to continue to modernize command and control and defend our nation against full spectrum threats. I need you to prepare for the future to include the integration of the Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) and as we work through Air Battle Management System (ABMS).”

Pierce explained that as a result of Humphrey’s prior assignment experience in the cyber domain, he is the right person for the job. “We can’t have JADC2 and have all of the connections and actually get to the point where it is more than just joint all domain, it is the just command and control without that cyber piece.”

Humphrey enlisted in the active duty United States Air Force in 1988 and served as a Survival School (SERE) Instructor until 1992 at Fairchild AFB, Wash. He then joined the Washington Air National Guard serving with the 105th Air Control Squadron and the Western Air Defense Sector until 1998.

In 1998, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Evergreen State College, Olympia, Wash., and earned his commission at the Air National Guard Academy of Military Science, as a distinguished graduate, and continued to serve with WADS as an air battle manager in support of Operation Noble Eagle after the 9/11 attacks.

In 2002, Humphrey became a founding member of the 262nd Information Warfare Aggressor Squadron, where he oversaw Red Team Operations against active duty Army and Air Force units.  The 262 IWAS's work included a variety of cyber-security missions including mimicking potential cyber-attacks on the U.S. homeland in order to build more secure systems.  For most of 2005, Humphrey returned to serving as a senior director air battle manager at the WADS on active duty special work orders.

In late 2005, he was selected for a joint assignment as the operations officer, then deputy commander, for the 10th Civil Support Team Weapons of Mass Destruction providing emergency and disaster support to civil authorities.

In 2012, Humphrey became commander of the 10th CST and served in that position until he was chosen for in-residence attendance at the Air War College. Upon his return from War College, he served as the deputy Joint Chief of Staff and State Partnership senior project officer where he established liaisons with the U.S. Embassy Malaysia and the Malaysian Armed Forces.

Humphrey returned to WADS in 2018 as the 225th Air Defense Group commander until his selection as the Title 10 WADS commander.  In June 2020, Humphrey became a Joint Qualified Officer (JQO) and is only one of 39 that are in the entire Air National Guard.

The WADS is staff by active-duty Washington Air National Guardsmen, Royal Canadian Air Force, U.S. Navy liaison officers, and Federal civilians.   The unit supports the NORAD integrated warning and attack assessment missions and the USNORTHCOM homeland defense mission. WADS is responsible for air sovereignty and counter-air operations over the Western United States and directs a variety of assets to defend 2.2 million square miles of land and sea west of the Mississippi River.