The first Information Warfare Numbered Air Force welcomes new commander

  • Published
  • By Rabia Coombs, Public Affairs
  • 16th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber)

16th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) welcomed Lt. Gen. Kevin Kennedy while bidding farewell to its first commander, Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, during a change of command ceremony at Joint Base San Antonio July 21, 2022.

During his first address as the 16th Air Force commander, Kennedy emphasized the importance of the Numbered Air Force’s role in serving as a link between the Air Force, U.S. Cyber Command, U.S. European Command, U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Space Command.

“The talent and expertise present in our NAF is inspiring, and when this manifests in our ability to converge on a challenge and bring to bear the full weight of the Air Force’s ISR (Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance), Cyber, Weather, and EW (Electronic Warfare) enterprises, it is a unique and highly valuable force multiplier for the joint force and unmatched for our Nation,” said Kennedy.

Haugh was responsible for standing up the 16th Air Force, the first Information Warfare Numbered Air Force. As he relinquished command, he thanked the Airmen for their continuous support and commitment to the mission as the organization evolved to meet emerging threats.  

“You have a central role in tackling our nation’s toughest and highest priority challenges. Every day you defend our homeland and deter aggression from our competitors. You provide a lethal, resilient, sustainable, survivable, agile and responsive force,” said Haugh.

Stood up to provide mission integration of the IW enterprise in accordance with the 2022 National Defense Strategy, Haugh took command of 16th Air Force in October 2019. Under his command, multi-capable, empowered Airmen spearheaded a broad range of activities from operationalizing weather assessments to supporting U.S. Cyber Command’s defense of the 2020 U.S. presidential elections.

Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command, officiated the ceremony including the symbolic passing of the guidon from the outgoing to the incoming commander. Kelly commended Haugh on his leadership in successfully campaigning against adversaries, while helping to change a culture focused on kinetic competition to one focused on non-kinetic competition.

U.S. Army Gen. Paul Nakasone, commander of U.S. Cyber Command, director of the National Security Agency and chief of the Central Security Service, also spoke during the ceremony. He emphasized the vital role the 16th Air Force plays in enabling the Joint Force.

“16th Air Force has produced extraordinary effects for the Joint Force through multiple combatant commands and the Air Force,” said Nakasone. “It’s no exaggeration to say that across the spectrum of conflict in cyberspace and in providing national and military intelligence, 16th Air Force has been decisively engaged against our adversaries every day, all day, in competition, crisis and conflict.” 

Both Kelly and Nakasone emphasized the need to build upon the foundation established by Haugh.

Kennedy is responsible for 48,000 Total Force Airmen across the IW enterprise. The 16th Air Force operates globally across 16 total force wings, two centers, 63 groups, 297 squadrons, 128 worldwide operating locations and 4,900 dedicated professionals providing capabilities to generate insights on adversaries. 

IW Airmen produce operational outcomes for combatant commanders engaged in global, strategic competition against threats to the U.S. and its interests.

“The adversaries we face are capable and becoming increasingly skilled and lethal,” Kennedy said. “It is clear to me that Information Warfare is ever-present in competition, the dominant activity in crisis and the essential enabler in conflict.”

Kennedy joins the NAF from Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, where he served as the director of operations, U.S. Cyber Command. He is a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate with more than 3,400 flying hours. His staff experience includes service on the U.S. Air Force Headquarters staff, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Cyber Command and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Prior to the change of command ceremony, U.S. Cyber Command hosted Kennedy’s appointment ceremony to the rank of lieutenant general.

Editor’s Note: The 16th Air Force supports all of the geographic combatant commands through its Component-Numbered Air Force role and as the Service Cryptologic Component. As the Service component to U.S. Cyber Command, the unit supports U.S. Cyber Command, U.S. European Command, U.S. Space Command, and U.S. Strategic Command.