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Kehler hands over STRATCOM leadership

Nov. 15, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
General C. Robert Kehler
Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler officially handed over leadership of U.S. Strategic Command on Friday to Navy Adm. Cecil Haney. (Colin Kelly / Staff)
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Adm. Cecil Haney. (Navy)

Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler officially handed over leadership of U.S. Strategic Command on Friday to Navy Adm. Cecil Haney.

Kehler, who took over command in January 2011 after serving as commander of Air Force Space Command, announced his retirement last summer. Haney previously served as commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet and was confirmed to lead Strategic Commandby the Senate in July.

Kehler’s retirement is effective Jan. 1.

“Generals get to stand in front of audiences like this and receive praise and medals for achievements made possible by others,” Kehler said during the ceremony at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. The successes achieved by me are actually your successes.”

Kehler’s tenure at the helm of Strategic Command was marked by growth in space and cyber operations. Also during his tenure, the command, which oversees all Defense Department nuclear operations, worked with a changing world view of nuclear weapons under reductions set forth in the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia.

The last year of Kehler’s tenure was marred by missteps at Air Force Global Strike Command, including flawed inspections in nuclear missile wings, challenges with poor morale in the service’s missile officer ranks and missteps including revelations that officers slept with blast doors open at missile sites. These combined with recent firings of officers in both Air Force Global Strike Command and U.S. Strategic Command.

Kehler has not publicly said what he plans to do after retirement, but said Friday he looks forward to continuing to serve in other ways.

Haney, who served as a submarine commander and deputy commander of Strategic Command before taking over Pacific Command, said Friday he is privileged to return to “the patriotic heartland of America” and take over the command.

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