New Keesler AFB commander says more technology use main goal

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The new top man at Keesler Air Force base says he wants to see the military make more use of the latest technological advances.

Col. Ian Dickinson took command of the 81st Training Wing a few weeks ago. He arrived in Biloxi with more than two decades of expertise in information technology and is setting a course toward modernization.

Col. Dickinson took part in a Thursday luncheon to thank volunteers who recently helped Keesler Air Force Base put on the Special Olympic Games. He believes the bond between the base and the community is strong, and will be enhanced with Keesler's nearly billion dollars worth of construction projects.

"We're building a wonderful events center where we'll be conducting large events to bring people to Keesler Air Force Base and the Gulf Coast to have meetings, have conferences, have events," said Col. Dickinson. "Money we're putting into modernization of military construction fits together to make a great community effort."

Along with a new events center, Keesler is erecting new energy efficient base housing. However, the base commander said other upgrades have nothing to do with bricks and mortar.

"We're able to modernize not just the infrastructure at Keesler Air Force base, but modernize the system that we're using and be able to bring in new techniques," Col. Dickinson said. "We've been able to bring in distance learning. Keesler had been a base for so long where you came to Keesler for training, now you can virtually come to Keesler for training."

Col. Dickinson said he's impressed by what Keesler accomplished before his arrival, and he's ready to lead the 81st Training Wing into a new realm of technology.

"Collaborative chat capabilities, conference rooms and instant messaging. How do we use desktop video teleconferencing? Many people at home know how to use this in their daily life, but we haven't applied them to the organizational approach," Col. Dickinson said. "That's some of the things that I think we can do more of."

Col. Dickinson's philosophy on leadership is based on three principles: integrity, team work and caring for people.

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