Gen. John Hyten took command of US Strategic Command at Offutt AFB, Neb., on Thursday. Hyten, who had commanded Air Force Space Command since August 2014, replaced Adm. Cecil Haney, who had been at the STRATCOM helm since November 2013. Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford took part in the ceremony. Carter noted he has worked with Hyten for years. “I can’t publicly describe everything we worked on together, but I can say with great confidence that throughout his career, whether serving in space operations, acquisition roles, and all the other things he’s done, John has developed a keen understanding of the current and future operational needs of our DOD space force and how to acquire the capabilities we need,” Carter said. “His experience and expertise will be a tremendous asset to STRATCOM as we prepare and face future threats in all domains.” Dunford said when it came time to decide who would replace Haney, he witnessed a very brief conversation between President Barack Obama and Carter before the apparently easy decision was made. “Given the array of threats and challenges we face, they knew that leading an organization of Strategic Command’s importance was going to require a special leader, and clearly we have that kind of leader in General John Hyten,” Dunford said.
After taking command, Hyten shared his two “red lines” that he said he has shared in every one of his change-of-command speeches, including his first to his first squadron at Offutt in 1996. “First, I can handle any news that comes through my door, except old news. If something good happens, let me know, and I’ll celebrate it with you. If something bad happens, let me know, and I’ll help you fix it. But if something happens, and you chose not to tell me, when I find out, and I will, I’m not going to worry about you, I’m just going to worry about fixing that problem,” he said. “Second, everybody that comes to work in US Strategic Command, each and every one of you, has made a special commitment to this nation, and you deserve to be treated with respect. I have no patience for those who don’t treat others with the respect they have earned.” During his confirmation hearing in September, Hyten said figuring out how to respond to a North Korea that is capable of striking the Unites States will be at the top of his to-do list. He also pledged to review the Pentagon’s EW capabilities and ability to control the electromagnetic spectrum. Gen. John Raymond assumed command of Air Force Space Command from Hyten Oct. 25.