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Space Command welcomes new leader

by Master Sgt. Kate Rust
Air Force Space Command Public Affairs

10/25/2007 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.  -- "Space capabilities have shaped the American way of warfare in the 21st century, just like airpower did in the 20th," said Gen. C. Robert "Bob" Kehler as he assumed command of Air Force Space Command in a ceremony here Oct. 24 presided over by Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Duncan J. McNabb.

Senior military leaders, members of the armed forces, industry partners and representatives of the community gathered at the Peterson Air Force Base parade field on the clear autumn afternoon to welcome AFSPC's newest commander. He succeeds Gen. Kevin P. Chilton who took command of U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt AFB, Neb., Oct. 17.

General Kehler, who served as the deputy commander of USSTRATCOM, pinned on his fourth star Oct. 12. He has commanded at the squadron, group and wing levels, and has a broad range of operational, command and staff tours in intercontinental ballistic missile operations, space launch, space operations, missile warning and space control.

General McNabb addressed the more than 250 guests present, illustrating General Kehler's demonstrated capabilities to lead the command.

"Bob has the perfect foundation for this job," he said. "He is the perfect Airman to lead space command. He is a decisive integrator with the right mix of operational expertise and strategic savvy. General Kehler is a warfighter's warfighter."

General Kehler stated his priorities firmly.

"As we stand here today, Air Force Space Command people are deterring nuclear aggression -- and make no mistake about it; nuclear deterrence remains the foundation of our nation's defense, and is this command's number-one priority," he said.

He reminded those gathered that AFSPC Airmen are protecting space capabilities, helping defend U.S. and Allied forces, and helping to win the joint fight against terrorists and other adversaries.

"With our mission partners and the joint warfighting team, these proud Airmen, civilians and contractors are developing, acquiring, operating, securing and maintaining some of our nation's most awesome and technically advanced systems," he said.

His vision will remain strongly focused on the warfighter.

Directing his comments to the men and women of AFSPC, the general said, "We have to retain our edge as the smartest, most capable space force in the world. We have to sustain our enduring missions as we address the challenges in the contested space domain, and we have to work with industry to craft a more responsive and flexible approach to delivering space capabilities we need for the future."

General Kehler entered the Air Force as a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program in 1975.

Following an Air Staff internship and tour at Strategic Air Command headquarters, he was reassigned to the Secretary of the Air Force's Office of Legislative Liaison, where he was the point man on Capitol Hill for matters regarding the President's ICBM Modernization Program. During a tour on the Joint Staff, he helped to formulate revolutionary changes to nuclear war plan structure and targeting.

General Kehler managed multi-billion-dollar Air Force space programs and has developed and advocated policy for space operations worldwide.

He now leads nearly 40,000 space and missile professionals who provide combat forces and capabilities to USSTRATCOM and North American Aerospace Defense Command. General Kehler is responsible for the development, acquisition and operation of the Air Force's space and missile systems. 

"I know this team. I know that we share a common perspective," General Kehler said.
"The sky is no limit to what we can do."

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