New leadership at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center

  • Published
  • By SSgt Samuel Earick
  • National Air and Space Intelligence Center Public Affairs

Col. Ariel G. Batungbacal took command of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center during a change of command ceremony, June 2 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, making her the leader of the Air Force’s premier producer of scientific and technical intelligence on air, space, and cyber threats.

Batungbacal succeeds Col. Maurizio Calabrese, who had led the service center since June 2020.

Lt. Gen. Mary F. O’Brien the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Cyber Effects Operations, presided over the ceremony, which drew an audience of more than 400 people. The general praised the center’s accomplishments during Calabrese’s tenure, highlighting a renewed focus on diversity, equity and inclusion; the acceleration of digital transformation; and the adoption of extreme teaming. She also commented on the supportive community surrounding NASIC and how it helps the Air Force mission.

“Calabrese, himself, would be the first person to share the credit for NASIC’s many accomplishments with WPAFB partners, the 88th Air Base Wing and the surrounding community,” said O’Brien. “It’s clear this is a community that takes pride in supporting our Airmen and Guardians and their families, which makes it easier for us to attract the best talent for NASIC’s challenging mission.”

O’Brien also spoke directly to that mission, describing the Center’s role in delivering intelligence to decision makers by providing a “newfound understanding of the threats.”

“You continue to be the Air Force’s go-to unit for vital intelligence,” she said. “It’s not unreasonable to say that NASIC answers our nation’s call to directly support our allies and partners in their moments of greatest need.”  

Batungbacal, who previously led NASIC’s Air and Cyberspace Intelligence Group, is the first person in the Center’s history to command at the group and wing levels consecutively. In her remarks, she described herself as an optimist and a warfighter, calling on the workforce to ignite their own warrior spirit.

“To the women and men of NASIC, we have the uncanny advantage of having a dedicated, committed workforce who are both passionate in their work and brilliant in their execution, I couldn’t be more honored to lead you forward,” said Batungbacal.

Outbound NASIC commander Calabrese was recently confirmed by the U.S. Senate for promotion to the grade of brigadier general. His next assignment has not been publically announced.

“When I think of NASIC as I’m departing I believe you consistently personify the core values and embodied our culture of extreme teaming to deliver that timely and relevant intelligence to our war fighters, policy makers and acquisition professionals,” said Calabrese.