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Commander challenges AFSPC staff to address report findings

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., -- Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander, Air Force Space Command, (right, facing crowd) addressed the AFSPC headquarters staff on June 9, challenging them to fully address the findings of the Donald Report that documented a decade-long decline in the Air Force’s nuclear mission focus and performance. (Air Force photo by Duncan Wood)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., -- Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander, Air Force Space Command, (right, facing crowd) addressed the AFSPC headquarters staff on June 9, challenging them to fully address the findings of the Donald Report that documented a decade-long decline in the Air Force’s nuclear mission focus and performance. (Air Force photo by Duncan Wood)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander, Air Force Space Command, tells his headquarters staff that he wants “hands-on leaders” who are “responsible and accountable” for their mission areas wherever that may be in the command. General Kehler wants the command to look forward, fix mistakes and move ahead rather than “looking back at the launch pad.” (Air Force photo by Duncan Wood)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander, Air Force Space Command, tells his headquarters staff that he wants “hands-on leaders” who are “responsible and accountable” for their mission areas wherever that may be in the command. General Kehler wants the command to look forward, fix mistakes and move ahead rather than “looking back at the launch pad.” (Air Force photo by Duncan Wood)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander, Air Force Space Command announced his determination to ensure that the trust and confidence the American people have in the Air Force Space Command will never be questioned or diminished ever again.

The commitment is based on the findings of the recently completed, classified DoD report on the unauthorized movement of nuclear components. The study was led by Adm. Kirkland Donald, director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion.

"I want leaders to be hands on," General Kehler told the entire, assembled headquarters staff. "I want you to be responsible and accountable. I believe that no one has knowingly made bad decisions over the past ten years, I think that one thousand little decisions have led to fundamental issues in our ICBM forces."

General Kehler outlined several areas where initiatives will make improvements to the command's operations. He wants standards examined, changed where needed and adhered to without exception. Training needs to be realistic and effective. Sustainment processes need to be examined in light of budget cuts. Importantly, the command's inspection processes will be examined and changed where necessary.

"We are going to dedicate ourselves to getting after the issues that have been raised," General Kehler said. "We are going to insist on perfection as the standard and we are going to be absolutely certain that we are holding people to the appropriate level of accountability, responsibility, authority and everything that goes with our attention on this business."

General Kehler spoke to the AFSPC culture.

"My view is that any command that achieves 58 successful launches in a row; puts things on orbit where they don't fail prematurely for over five years; and maintains a 90-plus percent alert rate in its ICBM force, must have a positive culture that grows competent, responsible, professional Airmen and civilians."

Human beings make mistakes. General Kehler allowed that it can be a good thing because fixing mistakes is how we grow professionally and as people.

"In our business, the most useless thing is to look back at the launch pad when you are launching into space, it is interesting, but it is irrelevant," General Kehler said. "It doesn't matter what we did yesterday. It matters what we are doing today, so we can do it better tomorrow. It matters that we learned the lessons of yesterday so we can apply that knowledge today and into tomorrow," he concluded.