Strategic Command Bids Farewell to Cartwright
By Staff Sgt. Alicia Prakash, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service
OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb., Aug. 13, 2007 Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright, the new No. 2 officer in the Defense Department, ceremonially relinquished command of U.S. Strategic Command to Air Force Lt. Gen. C. Robert Kehler in a ceremony here Aug. 10.
Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright speaks during a U.S. Strategic Command change of commance Aug. 10, 2007. Cartwright, who was confirmed as the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Aug. 3, relinquished command to Air Force Lt. Gen. C. Robert Kehler. Photo courtesy of U.S. Strategic Command
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Cartwright was confirmed as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Aug. 3. Kehler has assumed the duties as chief of Strategic Command until the Senate confirms a new commander.
As military members and community leaders gathered on the parade field to say goodbye and bid well wishes to the STRATCOM leader of the past three years, Kehler offered his thoughts on behalf of the command.
"This is a bittersweet day for Strategic Command," he said. "The men and women of this command are very, very proud of where you are headed and the job you are about to take on with a great deal of gusto. I am sure it will be with the same kind of intensity that you showed here."
As vice chairman, Cartwright is the second ranking member of the armed forces. He would replace the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in his absence or disability as the principal military advisor to the president.
"It has been an honor to lead the men and women of U.S. Strategic Command," Cartwright said. "This joint team of military and civilian members has continuously impressed me with their talent, professionalism and selfless dedication to duty."
As STRATCOM commander, Cartwright was responsible for global command and control of U.S. strategic forces to meet decisive national security objectives. The command is one of nine U.S. unified commands under the Department of Defense and provides a broad range of strategic capabilities and options for the president and secretary of defense.
"This has been a very tumultuous time as we are a nation at war," Cartwright said during the ceremony. "Our forces are deployed all over the globe. The area of responsibility for this command starts at about 23,000 miles in space, hits every country and embassy in the world and the depths of the deepest parts of the ocean."
During Cartwright's tenure here he carried out a significant role making notable changes within the command.
In 2005, his hands-on familiarity with technology led to the development of the Strategic Knowledge Integration Web, commonly known as the SKI Web. This 24-hour Web-based collaborative tool allows for interactive information sharing on a classified level. It operates on real time and is a virtual operation and intelligence meeting.
Also in 2005, Cartwright decided to delegate authority for operational and tactical level planning, force execution and day-to-day management of forces to joint functional component commands. These organizations further “operationalize” assigned missions and focus the command on strategic-level integration and advocacy of Unified Command Plan-assigned missions.
"Thank you for setting the condition in which this command can operate on a global scale day in and day out and know that our people are taken care of," Cartwright said. "This is a wonderful place to live, a wonderful place where children can go to school and have a fond memory of it."
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced July 24 that the president nominated Air Force Gen. Kevin P. Chilton for appointment to the grade of general and assignment as commander of U.S. Strategic Command. Chilton is currently serving as commander of Air Force Space Command, at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.
(Air Force Staff Sgt. Alicia Prakash is assigned to U.S. Strategic Command Public Affairs.)