21st Century Partnership director of strategy, Dan Rhoades.

Kristin Moriarty/Staff Writer

Wed, Nov 29, 2017

In August of this year the 21st Century Partnership hired Dan Rhoades as the director of strategy. As the director of strategy, Rhoades is responsible for development and execution of strategies and action plans to enable achievement of the 21st Century Partnership’s goals.

The 21st Century Partnership is a Georgia nonprofit corporation and is the only enterprise dedicated solely to actively support the current missions of Robins Air Force Base and ensure that both the base and the Middle Georgia community are best postured to accept new base missions.

During his initial four months on the job Rhoades has described his experience as being nothing short of amazing. Rhoades was born in Ohio, but moved all over the United States growing up, including living in Macon. He and his wife decided to make Warner Robins their home after he retired from the United States Navy.

“I first began my military career in the Army Reserve National Guard,” Rhoades said. “I served for three years, then switched to the Navy where I served for 24 years and retired in 2006. I spent most of my service in the intelligence community.”

Rhoades also spent over two years in Iraq providing intelligence analysis to the Iraqi government and other U.S. Allies. He then joined Air Force Reserve Command as a civil service employee working the 2005 BRAC (base realignment and closure). As well as he participated in the founding of the Air Force Strategic Basing and Total Force programs.

“I am thoroughly enjoying my position as the director of strategy for the 21st Century Partnership,” Rhoades said. “My role is to maintain the long term viability of Robins Air Force Base. And one of the things in this position you have to do is not only maintain the current mission sets, but look to what new mission sets could come for the future. You have to be prepared and understand how that process is going to run. So with my last job it translates into my current one extremely well because I know how the Air Force does their processes.”

Rhoades said there are absolutely some missions on the rise that they are looking at trying to bring to Robins Air Force Base, but is not able to share any details at this time. One thing he did share was that the JSTARS (joint surveillance target attack radar system) unit on base has been funded for another year.

“JSTARS was one of the first key things addressed after I was hired,” Rhoades said. “But we are definitely looking at some missions right now and hope to be able to share soon. We are also focusing on the additional 550 positions that have been added to the base. That was the work of past folks making sure that those missions that came through there were doing the same things to setup for the future. I personally would love for Robins Air Force Base to expand its mission capability. I would love to see every corner of property at the bas push with new missions, which means more new jobs and capabilities for Middle Georgia.”

One topic for the Rhoades and the 21st Century Partnership that is not necessarily negative or positive is the possibility of BRAC. He said it is likely to come up for discussion within the next year and coming to the forefront in 2019.

“It is an issue and we have to recognize it, but I believe the base is well positioned for the future,” Rhoades said. “We just have to continue to advocate for the missions we have out at the base and continue to posture Robins to ensure it has capability to be an absolutely essential part of the mission. The mission under Secretary Mattis, his primary concern is making sure that the war fighter is taken care of and making sure that the lethal fight is supported. As long as Robins Air Force Base continues to be a critical part of that mission I think we will be good to go. Recent studies of Air Force Depots show that we are currently set at where we need to be.”