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Peterson Space Observer

Space operations vital to Air Force, nation

Gen. C. Robert Kehler, Commander of Air Force Space Command

Gen. C. Robert Kehler, Commander of Air Force Space Command

By Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski

Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (AFNS)  – Air Force officials discussed the importance of space as a warfighting domain before members of the Senate May 20 on Capitol Hill.

Senior Air Force leaders in the space realm answered questions from the Senate Armed Services Committee Strategic Force Subcommittee, telling them that Air Force officials were postured to make the most of their assets as part of the joint fight.

Gen. C. Robert “Bob” Kehler, the Air Force Space Command commander, told the subcommittee that the command’s efforts to provide the services with resources to maintain a strong presence in space have been and continue to be a vital part of the national defense strategy.

“Our mission is to provide an integrated constellation of space and cyberspace capabilities at the speed of need,” General Kehler said. “Our vision is to be the leading source of emerging and integrated space and cyberspace capabilities.”

General Kehler spoke of two key decisions the Air Force made: The creation of Air Force Global Strike Command and the assignment of cyberspace tasks to AFSPACE.

“Space capabilities contribute across the spectrum of regular and irregular combat and noncombat operations, and provide joint commanders a decisive advantage,” he said. “The cyberspace domain is inextricably linked to the other domains in which the U.S. military operates.”

With the recent budget release and the cancellation of the TSAT program program, the Air Force is “harvesting” the technologies, systems and lessons learned so it can apply them to the next generation of satellites.

“What’s important is that we synchronize capabilities with needs,” General Kehler said.

Gary E. Payton, the deputy undersecretary of the Air Force for space programs, also testified.

“Our space systems are the envy of the world,” he wrote in his official statement. “Our surveillance satellites are able to detect missile launches anywhere in the world, our communications systems allow the president precise and assured control over nuclear forces, our wideband systems rapidly transmit critical information to our warfighters, our weather satellites allow us to predict future weather half a world away, our Global Positioning Systems enable knowledge down to centimeters and timing down to nanoseconds.”

Mr. Payton said a strong space presence enhances the joint fight.

“These sophisticated systems make each Soldier, Sailor, Marine and Airman safer and more capable.”

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