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Dunford Recognizes Strategic Command Troops With Joint Meritorious Unit Award

Nov. 3, 2016 | BY Jim Garamone

A change of command is more about continuity than change, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said as Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney transferred the flag of U.S. Strategic Command to Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter, right, and Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, attach a Joint Meritorious Unit Award streamer to the Strategic Command organizational flag during the Stratcom change of command ceremony at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., Nov. 3, 2016. Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten assumed command from Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro
Defense Secretary Ash Carter, right, and Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, attach a Joint Meritorious Unit Award streamer to the Strategic Command organizational flag during the Stratcom change of command ceremony at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., Nov. 3, 2016. Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten assumed command from Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro
Defense Secretary Ash Carter, right, and Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, attach a Joint Meritorious Unit Award streamer to the Strategic Command organizational flag during the Stratcom change of command ceremony at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., Nov. 3, 2016. Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten assumed command from Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro
Stratcom Change of Command
Defense Secretary Ash Carter, right, and Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, attach a Joint Meritorious Unit Award streamer to the Strategic Command organizational flag during the Stratcom change of command ceremony at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., Nov. 3, 2016. Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten assumed command from Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro
Photo By: Dominique A. Pineiro
VIRIN: 161103-D-PB383-028

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford used the ceremony at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, to also present Stratcom’s men and women with the Joint Meritorious Unit Award. The award recognizes all those serving in the command and its component commands.

“Tomorrow morning, just like this morning, the men and women of Stratcom will wake up with complete focus and commitment to the mission and complete trust in their leadership,” Dunford said.

Taking Stock

But changes of command are also a time to take stock of the command. Service members of Stratcom deter enemies from attacking the United States, prepare to defeat those who would attack the United States in the event deterrence fails, and they ensure access to space and cyberspace for the joint force, the chairman said. “They perform the most important missions in the Department of Defense,” he said.

In his year in office, Dunford has made a point to visit Stracom’s men and women. He met with those manning the Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center in Colorado. He visited the USS Alaska, a ballistic missile submarine in Kings Bay, Georgia. He visited U.S. Cyber Command at Fort Meade, Maryland, to meet with those developing the tools needed to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in cyberspace.

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VIDEO | 00:25 | Dunford Hails Stratcom’s Contributions

Finally, yesterday at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, Dunford said he  “witnessed the commitment and the competence of the 5th Bomb Wing and the 91st Missile Wing. Those are airmen who stand watch 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week and proudly deliver two legs of the nuclear triad.”

Appreciation of Command

Dunford said the visits have given him an appreciation of the personnel of the command and the breadth and complexity of the missions they perform. “Your contributions and the unique missions you perform, the contribution you make to our nation is both recognized and appreciated,” the chairman said. “You are the reason our nation is safe from nuclear attack. You’re the reason our allies are assured. You’re the reason our adversaries are deterred.”

Dunford praised Haney’s vision and knowledge. Through a 40-year career, the admiral has led at every level “and made a lasting impact,” the chairman said. Dunford praised the admiral for his mentorship and training for people at every level.

The chairman said Gen. Hyten is a fitting replacement for the admiral.

“He returns to Offutt with precisely the kind of experience, competence and proven leadership that Stratcom’s unique mission requires,” Dunford said.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)