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24th AF changes command, commander during ceremony

Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, presents the 24th Air Force guidon to Maj. Gen. Robert Skinner upon assuming command of the 24th AF during a ceremony at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, July 17, 2018. Twenty Fourth Air Force was reassigned to a new major command and welcomed Skinner during the ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo by Andrew C. Patterson)

Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, presents the 24th Air Force guidon to Maj. Gen. Robert Skinner upon assuming command of the 24th AF during a ceremony at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, July 17, 2018. Twenty Fourth Air Force was reassigned to a new major command and welcomed Skinner during the ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo by Andrew C. Patterson)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- Twenty Fourth Air Force was reassigned to a new major command and welcomed a new commander during a ceremony here, July 17, 2018.

During the ceremony, 24th AF moved from Air Force Space Command to Air Combat Command. Generals Jay Raymond, AFSPC commander, and Mike Holmes, ACC commander, presided over the ceremony.

The move was directed to realign the 24th AF cyber operations and 25th AF intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions under the same command; all to “drive faster decisions as we fight,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, in a June 7 statement.

“If we’re going to compete, deter and win on the international stage, we must think of every domain as coequal and interdependent,” said Holmes. “This codependence and coequality may be even more important in competition, and the transfer of 24th Air Force is a step on that path that will offer additional options for our warfighters and national leaders.”

The transfer will optimize multi-domain integration of cyber capabilities and effects in support of Air Force core missions. The new construct will improve the Air Force’s ability to organize, train, and equip cyber forces in presentation to and support of Air Force component commanders and combatant commanders.

As part of the ceremony, Maj. Gen. Chris Weggeman also relinquished command of 24th AF to Maj. Gen. Robert Skinner.

During his tenure, Weggeman oversaw the achievement of full operational capability of all Air Force Cyber Mission Force teams more than four months early, completing a major milestone for U.S. Cyber Command.

For his leadership, Raymond presented Weggeman the Distinguished Service Medal, after which Weggeman credited his success to his Airmen.

“To the Airmen of Air Forces Cyber … thank you,” said Weggeman. “You’ve shattered my every expectation and I am so inspired and proud of who you are and what you have accomplished. You are a globally recognized, battle-tempered and proven warfighter, maneuver and effects force. You were charged to compete, deter and win, in, through and from cyberspace, and [you did].”

Weggeman is departing for ACC to become the special assistant to the commander. Skinner hails from AFSPC, where he was the deputy commander.

“Our task is to dominate the cyber domain, with trained and ready forces, and deter and defeat our enemies in any multi-domain operation,” said Skinner. “Much like our predecessors, we will continue to push the envelope with smart, risk-taking, bold and innovative leaders at all levels continually increasing our warfighter readiness and lethality. That is the only way to ensure the success of our National Defense Strategy. I’m excited to join your team, as we provide the world’s greatest combat cyber power to fight the adversary across all domains.”

Since its Aug. 18, 2009 activation, 24th AF has delivered full-spectrum, global cyberspace capabilities and effects to the Air Force, joint force and nation. It is the only Numbered Air Force dedicated to cyberspace operations.