AFSPC commander impressed with Buckley's Airmen
By Staff Sgt. Sanjay Allen, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 21, 2008
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The commander of Air Force Space Command toured work centers here Aug. 19 and 20 to get an up close feel of what Buckley brings to the fight.
He recognized the hard work that the members of Buckley have put in to make the base what it is today. General Kehler was the 21st Space Wing commander when Buckley fell under his command as the 821st Space Group as it transitioned into an active duty base in 2000.
"I'm very proud of what the wing is doing," he said. "I watched the wing evolve here ... I love it when a plan comes together.
"I'm also very impressed by what I've seen here at Buckley in terms of the transition that continues here, the transition to one of the showcase active duty bases," the general added. "I really think that we're doing that with the appropriate balance. I'm very pleased with what I've seen. I think that the execution of this much construction activity has gone very well."
In the time since the stand up, the mission of the Air Force has been the same. However, it has expanded to space and cyberspace along with air.
"It's about three interdependent warfighting domains where if you lose control in any one of them you lose control of all three," the AFSPC commander said. "And if you lose control of all three - you lose."
What Buckley does in this equation is phenomenally important to the joint force. The way the Air Force uses space, shapes the way it fights.
The general said it allows the Air Force to be more precise, to deploy fewer people, to control casualties and to have global situational awareness.
He went on to say that adversaries have noticed that as well. And so space has become a contested domain. The evidence is with the Chinese test of an anti-satellite missile, when Saddam Hussein tried to jam the Global Positioning System, and information on the internet detailing how people are out there trying to take space capabilities away.
He also said the possibility is there to take away these capabilities by taking away the places on the ground that makes them work.
"That changes the way we need to do business here," he said. "We have to be mindful of those things as we're building Buckley. We have to be mindful of those kinds of things as we're securing Buckley. We have to be mindful of those kinds of things as we go about our daily operations."
From what the general observed during his visit, he was very proud of the way Buckley accomplishes its mission.
"We're executing a plan that's deliberate," General Kehler said. "We know where we want to go. We know how we want to get there. I've been very impressed ... seeing things that we have done here. We've been deploying people forward, bringing them back, using the talents that we have here to prepare the next group to go forward. These are dynamic times in our Air Force."
The past and the present state of the Air Force in space have been good and General Kehler thinks that the future is even brighter.
"The mission of the Air Force is to fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace," he said. "I think that says something about the importance of space as we look to the future. It's really about three interdependent domains -- air space and cyberspace -- and it's about the relationship between those three recognizing that there is not one of those more important than the others. I really see as I look to the future, continued use of our military space assets, continued importance for the space mission here, continued importance for the space missions in terms of joint warfighting and certainly an increased recognition by the rest of the joint warfighting team of the importance of the space mission, in particular things that go on here at Buckley. As I look at the future I see a very, very bright future for the Air Force and space an increase in our capabilities regarding the Air Force in space."
Overall, General Kehler was pleased with Team Buckley. He was impressed with where the base is now and where it is headed.
"It's good to come back and now see the plans as they have progressed," he said. "It's very impressive to me to drive around on the base and see what's happening here and its very impressive to see after all of the investment and time and energy we have put into the Space Based Infrared System that is now coming to fruition. We anticipate the next set of launches hopefully within the next year. When that happens, the criticality of Buckley just continues to go up."