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Gen. Kehler lauds Buckley's "tremendous improvements"

Gen. C. Robert Kehler, Air Force Space Command commander, addresses 460th Space Wing personnel during his commander’s call Sept. 1. The general asked Airmen to stay safe and thanked them for a job well done. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Paul Labbe)

Gen. C. Robert Kehler, Air Force Space Command commander, addresses 460th Space Wing personnel during his commander’s call Sept. 1, 2009. The general asked Airmen to stay safe and thanked them for a job well done. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Paul Labbe)

Gen. C. Robert Kehler, Air Force Space Command commander, addresses 460th Space Wing personnel during his commander’s call Sept. 1. General Kehler met with wing, group and tenant unit leadership prior to the commander's call. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Anika Williams)

Gen. C. Robert Kehler, Air Force Space Command commander, addresses 460th Space Wing personnel during his commander’s call Sept. 1, 2009. General Kehler met with wing, group and tenant unit leadership prior to the commander's call. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Anika Williams)

Gen. C. Robert Kehler, Air Force Space Command commander, listens to a briefing at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Sept. 1. During his visit, the general discussed Buckley's ongoing growth and the base's importance to the Air Force Space Command mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Paul Labbe)

Gen. C. Robert Kehler, Air Force Space Command commander, listens to a briefing at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Sept. 1, 2009. During his visit, the general discussed Buckley's ongoing growth and the base's importance to the Air Force Space Command mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Paul Labbe)

Gen. C. Robert Kehler, Air Force Space Command commander, discusses base security during a briefing at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Sept. 1. During his visit, the general discussed Buckley's ongoing growth and the base's importance to the Air Force Space Command mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Paul Labbe)

Gen. C. Robert Kehler, Air Force Space Command commander, discusses base security during a briefing at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Sept. 1, 2009. During his visit, the general discussed Buckley's ongoing growth and the base's importance to the Air Force Space Command mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Paul Labbe)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Gen. C. Robert Kehler, Air Force Space Command commander, visited Buckley Air Force Base, Sept. 1.

During his visit, the general conducted a commander's call, addressing questions regarding AFSPC and the Air Force's cyberspace mission, as well as praising Team Buckley's mission accomplishment during this period of rapid growth.

Air Force Space Command "is going through one of the most dramatic mission transitions in the Air Force," General Kehler said. "We're moving from 1970s technology to 21st Century tech in orbit. This is an enormous improvement in warfighting technology." Team Buckley, the general said, is at the forefront of this transition.

Continuing on the subject of Air Force transitions, General Kehler next gave his thoughts on the last year since Gen. Norton Schwartz took command as Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

"I think we've turned some corners as far as regaining stability in the Air Force," General Kehler said. Especially of interest to AFSPC, he said, was the reinvigoration of the Air Force's nuclear enterprise. "We've stood up [Air Force] Global Strike Command at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and moved our 20th Air Force from [Air Force] Space Command to [Air Force] Global Strike Command." This, along with moving 8th Air Force from Air Combat Command to [Air Force] Global Strike Command, will give the nuclear mission more consistency.

The general assured Team Buckley that the 20th Air Force move isn't likely to adversely affect manning at AFSPC bases, primarily because of another transition. In August, AFPSC stood up 24th Air Force, in charge of cyberspace operations.

"The Air Force has decided there will be a major command in charge of cyberspace operations," General Kehler said, "and it will be Air Force Space Command."

The primary focus, the general said, is ensuring the Air Force's continued operational capability online - a task which will require the help of every Airman.

"I'm going to borrow a phrase from our Marine Corps comrades-in-arms," General Kehler said. "The Marines say 'every Marine is a rifleman first.' In cyberspace, every Airman must be a defender first."

Being a defender, the general said, is nothing new to Airmen in AFSPC. He lauded the roughly 1,200 AFSPC Airmen deployed in overseas contingency operations, as well as the rest of the AFSPC team deployed-in-place protecting our skies.

"It's amazing," General Kehler said. "The Combat Action Medals which I have pinned on people have been for phenomenal things. We are getting experiences in this command unlike any we've had before."

The general added those experiences fly in the face of critics who say the Air Force is not involved in the current conflict. "Make no mistake, we are in the fight."
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