U.S. Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler, commander of U.S. Strategic Command (Stratcom), one of the key U.S. military space posts, retired Nov. 15.

“Space and cyberspace are relatively new arenas of conflict, and STRATCOM is America’s first line of defense against these threats,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Nov. 15 in a speech honoring Kehler. “As much as ever, we are counting on the men and women of this command to be vigilant, and always ready for duty.”

Kehler assumed control of Stratcom in January 2011. Stratcom is responsible for the surveillance of space as well as the protection of U.S. space systems from hostile action from adversaries. 

“Gen. Kehler has worked tirelessly to build and maintain the space, cyber, and missile defense capabilities that STRATCOM needs for today’s security environment,” Hagel said, according to a transcript of his remarks.

Kehler has been replaced by Navy Adm. Cecil Haney, a former deputy commander of Stratcom.