Edward Ornelas for the Rivard Report
Hundreds of military and civilian personnel filled the Gateway Club at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland on Tuesday as the Air Force's cyber combat units were transferred to a new command, making Lackland the lead unit conducting cyber operations.
Gen. Jay Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command (AFSPC), and Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command (ACC), presided over the event to formally realign the 24th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) and associated cyber units from Air Force Space Command to Air Combat Command. The 24th Air Force's new commander is Maj. Gen. Robert Skinner.
Skinner was most recently deputy commander at AFSPC at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.
The secretary and chief of staff of the Air Force designated ACC as the lead Air Force command responsible for organizing, training, and equipping Air Forces to carry out a full range of cyber missions and operations.
The 24th Air Force has played a significant role in establishing how the overall Air Force normally conducts cyberwarfare and defense worldwide, Raymond said.
"Since 2013, the 24th Air Force has played a major role in establishing the Air Force's portion of U.S. Cyber Command and cyber forces," he said.
In today's cyberwarfare environment, it's important to have the capability to be agile with information and use data effectively to gain superiority over enemy combatants, be it on a battlefield or in cyberspace, Raymond said. The move from Air Force Space Command to Air Combat Command, he said, provides more flexibility and capacity.
"By having Air Combat Command with us, it creates a unity of command for Air Force operations in information superiority," Raymond said.
At the time the realignment was announced, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said the move helps the U.S. military invest in gaining and exploiting information on its adversaries and defending against similar moves by those adversaries.
More than 5,600 military, civilian, and contractor personnel are part of the 24th Air Force, which contains the 624th Operations Center and 67th and 688th cyberspace wings.