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AFSPC commander discusses space, cyberspace future at AFA convention

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Air Force's lead for integrating space and cyberspace capabilities spoke at the 2009 Annual Air Force Association Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition at the National Harbor, Oxon Hill, Md., Sept. 15.

Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander of the 43,000-member Air Force Space Command, addressed strategic deterrence in space and cyberspace before attendees that included civilians, Airmen, allied foreign military leaders and civilian industry leaders.

"We're really proud of the intercontinental ballistics missiles, space and cyberspace capabilities that we provide to the joint fight," the general said. "We're a team of Airmen, civilians and contractors who enable joint forces to strike with precision, navigate and communicate with certainty and see the battlefield with clarity."

General Kehler spoke to conference participants about the importance of assured access and mission success in the joint fight.

"Space and cyberspace capabilities are, in fact, critical to modern military operations and they provide the U.S. military with an advantage over our adversaries. It's important that we maintain and sustain that advantage.

General Kehler noted the need to be mindful of requirements and responsive to technological advancements.

"Air Force Space Command professionals contribute to our nation's strategic deterrent and deliver persistent space and cyberspace-based capabilities to America and its warfighting commands around the globe.

"Every single thing we do in Air Force Space Command begins and ends in the joint fight and we are in that fight ... every single day," General Kehler said.

Last month, Air Force Space Command officials activated the 24th Air Force, the Air Force's operational arm to cyberspace.

Even with the business of activating the Air Force's newest numbered air force, the command team has maintained vigilance with regard to the nuclear enterprise.

"Reinvigorating the nuclear enterprise still is the Air Force's number one priority," the general said. "As long as the American people, the Congress and the president ask us to operate, maintain and sustain nuclear forces, then we will focus on our nuclear mission as the number one priority.

"Whether you have one weapon or 10,000 weapons, the mission demands exacting standards, constant attention and careful stewardship. Perfection is the standard," he said.

Even though the plate for Air Force Space Command remains full, the team is focused on the operational commitments of today and the requirements of tomorrow.

"We must be flexible and adaptable as we go forward. If flexibility is the key to air and space power, it's even more important in cyberspace," the general said. "As a command we must develop, field and employ capabilities in an increasingly complex and challenging national security environment;"

General Kehler said the Air Force must fuse operations, intelligence acquisitions and engineering into revolutionary operations in order to deliver even more game-changing affects into cyberspace.

"We must differentiate and position ourselves to deliver Air Force capabilities that complement, not duplicate those of the other services, and then we can begin to invent the future and drive advances in technology and warfighting."