Air Force activates cyber Numbered Air Force

From l-r:  Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander Air Force Space Command, Chief Master Sgt. Todd Small, AFSPC command chief, and Maj. Gen. Richard Webber, stand at attention during the 24th activation ceremony held at Lackland AFB, TX. General Kehler presided over the ceremony to activate the NAF, handing the command to General Webber, as the first commander of the 24 AF dedicated to cyberspace.  The 24th Air Force activation under Air Force Space Command is a major milestone in the combination of space and cyberspace operations within one command. General Kehler presided over the ceremony to activate the new numbered Air Force.  (Courtesy photo)

From l-r: Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander Air Force Space Command, Chief Master Sgt. Todd Small, AFSPC command chief, and Maj. Gen. Richard Webber, stand at attention during the 24th activation ceremony held at Lackland AFB, Texas. General Kehler presided over the ceremony to activate the NAF, handing the command to General Webber, as the first commander of the 24 AF dedicated to cyberspace. The 24th Air Force activation under Air Force Space Command is a major milestone in the combination of space and cyberspace operations within one command. General Kehler presided over the ceremony to activate the new numbered Air Force. (Courtesy photo)

Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander Air Force Space Command, passes the official flag to Maj. Gen. Richard E. Webber, making him the first commander of the 24 AF.  Chief Master Sgt. Todd Small, AFSPC command chief, looks on.  The 24th Air Force activation under Air Force Space Command is a major milestone in the combination of space and cyberspace operations within one command. General Kehler presided over the ceremony to activate the new numbered Air Force. (Courtesy photo)

Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander Air Force Space Command, passes the official flag to Maj. Gen. Richard E. Webber, making him the first commander of the 24 AF. Chief Master Sgt. Todd Small, AFSPC command chief, looks on. The 24th Air Force activation under Air Force Space Command is a major milestone in the combination of space and cyberspace operations within one command. General Kehler presided over the ceremony to activate the new numbered Air Force. (Courtesy photo)

LACKLAND AFB, Texas -- The Air Force activated its cyber-focused numbered Air Force, the 24th Air Force, during a ceremony here today.

Gen. C. Robert Kehler, Air Force Space Command commander, presided over the ceremony to activate the NAF, handing the command to Maj. Gen. Richard E. Webber, as the first commander of the 24 AF dedicated to cyberspace.

"Today we activated the newest numbered Air Force," General Kehler told local media representatives after the ceremony. "Through the 24 AF, our service will present a full spectrum of cyberspace capabilities vital to the joint warfighter.

"Air Force Space Command has been designated the lead Air Force command for cyberspace," he added. "By activating 24 AF, the Air Force now has an operational unit to present cyberspace forces to the joint community."

The activation of 24 AF under AFSPC is a major milestone in the combination of space and cyberspace operations within one command. The 24 AF will provide combat-ready forces trained and equipped to conduct sustained cyber operations, fully integrated within air and space operations.

"We're going to have three wings to do that - the 688th Information Operations Wing, the 67th Network Warfare Wing, and we're going to create a third wing, the 689th [Combat Communications Wing] out of the 3rd and 5th Combat Communications Groups," General Webber said.

"If you look at all the wings, we're all properly constituted," General Webber added. "We will cover everything it takes to build and create a network - whether that's in a fixed location in the United States or overseas, or in a deployed location where you're communication challenged. We'll create the domain, operate within that domain, and defend that domain."

AFSPC as the lead Air Force major command for space and cyberspace capabilities and as the component MAJCOM to United States Strategic Command, provides the management-level headquarters functions of organizing, training and equipping.

"I think we will look back at some point and we will all point to this day as the beginning of something focused in our Air Force," General Kehler said. "What we've done today is taken another step ... now there needs to be room for much discover as we go forward."

The 24 AF will provide combatant commanders with critical cyber component capabilities, ensuring a key element of joint and combined operations toward its global mission.