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Local News

Leadership Switch in the Works at Vandenberg AFB

The commander of Vandenberg Air Force Base’s main unit will be changing this summer.

Col. Chris Moss will replace Col. Keith Balts as 30th Space Wing commander during a change-of-command ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m. July 9 at the base parade grounds.

In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held at the base theater.

Moss' past assignments include a stint at commander of the 614th Air and Space Operations Center and director of the Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg from 2010 to 2012.

He also served as operations officer at the 4th Space Operations Squadron at Schriever AFB in Colorado and held assignments with the National Reconnaissance Office and at the Pentagon.

Moss earned a bachelor's degree from Purdue University and his first master's degree from Webster University in Florida. He also completed a master of arts degree in national security affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. 

The 30th Space Wing is the primary unit at Vandenberg and responsible for monitoring just-launched rockets and missiles to ensure they remain on their flight paths.

Balts will move on Peterson AFB in Colorado to become the Air Force Space Command inspector general.

He assumed command of the 30th Space Wing in May 2013 after a one-year stint as director of space forces for U.S. military operations in Southwest Asia.

Balts was familiar with Vandenberg since he served as 30th Space Wing vice commander from August 2010 through May 2012.

He is a career space officer who began as a satellite operations crew member after graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he participated in ROTC.

Summertime is a popular time to hold change-of-command ceremonies at Vandenberg so the officers' moves to new assignments do not require their children relocating during the school year. Commanders typically serve two- or three-year stints before moving on to new jobs.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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