Hagel Praises Stratcom Organization at Change of Command
By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2013 The organization responsible for protecting Americans against “the world’s most complex and dangerous threats” will continue to get the resources it needs to maintain an effective nuclear deterrent, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said today during a change-of-command ceremony for U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel passes the U.S. Strategic Command flag to Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney during a change-of-command ceremony on Offutt Air Force Base, Omaha, Neb., Nov. 15, 2013. Hagel made remarks during the ceremony in which Air Force Gen. C. Robert Kehler relinquished command. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Hagel traveled to his home state to be on hand as Air Force Gen. C. Robert Kehler retired and handed over responsibility for Stratcom to Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney, who most recently commanded U.S. Pacific Fleet.
The secretary credited Kehler with leading the nation’s first line of defense against emerging threats to space and cyberspace by nations and nonstate actors alike, whose capabilities he said are becoming increasingly advanced and lethal. And in doing so, Hagel said, the Air Force general has been central to the nation’s prosperity and security.
“General Kehler has worked tirelessly to build and maintain the space, cyber and missile defense capabilities that Stratcom needs for today’s security environment,” the secretary said. He pledged that the command will continue to receive “the training, discipline, leadership and capability necessary to succeed, even in the face of growing fiscal constraints.”
Haney -- who was Stratcom’s deputy commander before taking Pacific Fleet’s reins in 2011 -- brings “an exceptional set of skills and experiences honed over 35 years in uniform,” Hagel said. The admiral pledged to work diligently to deter strategic attacks against the United States and its allies and to be ready to respond if deterrence fails.
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also spoke at the ceremony and reflected on how much the world and the nature of the threats facing the nation have changed over Kehler’s nearly 40-year military career.
“There are few that are better able to understand, to appreciate and to articulate the vast mission which comprises our nation’s strategic deterrent force, measured no longer in megatons alone, but also these days in megapixels and megabytes,” Dempsey said.
“Our world is different,” he added.
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