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Otto takes command of AFISRA
Maj. Gen. Robert P. Otto delivers remarks for the first time as Commander, Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency, during the Change of Command ceremony July 19 at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. (Photo by William Belcher)
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Otto takes command of AFISRA

Posted 7/19/2011   Updated 7/21/2011 Email story   Print story


by Wayne Amann
AIr Force ISR Agency Public Affairs

7/19/2011 - LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- For the 28th time in the 63-year legacy of the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency, and its predecessor organizations, a new commander is leading the way.

Maj. Gen. Robert P. "Bob" Otto, assumed command from Maj. Gen. Bradley A. Heithold during a change of command ceremony July 19 at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. General Otto is the third commanding officer since the unit was re-designated the agency in 2007.

Beginning in 1948, its predecessor units: the United States Air Force Security Service was led by 13 commanders; the Electronic Security Command, had four commanders; the Air Force Intelligence Command, one commander and the Air Intelligence Agency, 10 commanders respectively.

The new AFISRA commander is responsible for leading the nearly 20,000 members of the enterprise whose mission is to organize, train, equip and present assigned forces and capabilities to conduct ISR for combatant commanders and the nation.

"This is a team sport," General Otto said. "And this is a great team."

The new commander also implements and oversees execution of Air Force headquarters policy and guidance to expand Air Force ISR capabilities to meet current and future challenges.

"The tremendous investment in ISR since 9/11 has yielded unprecedented opportunity and capability," General Otto said. "The explosive growth in sensors, analysts and data plus the accent toward technology is fruit ripe for picking."

Prior to his arrival, General Otto, a 1982 distinguished graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, was the Director of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Capabilities, Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.

In that capacity, he managed Air Force-operated ISR programs and projects involving the expenditure of some $4 billion annually.

General Otto was also responsible for developing and advocating Air Force policy on a variety of intelligences and represented the Air Force on ISR matters in discussions with Congress, intelligence community partners, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff and the other services.

Among his 22 assignments and three joint assignments, he served as the Chief of Staff of the Air Force Chair and professor of military strategy at the National War College. His most recent deployment was in 2011 as the Air Forces Central Command Air Operations Center Director, Southwest Asia.

"These are noble times, he said. "It simply reminds me it's an honor to serve."

General Otto is a command pilot with more than 2,800 hours in the U-2, RQ-4, F-15, AT-38, T-38, O-2 and OT-37, including 50 combat and combat support hours in Operation Southern Watch.

"As we remove our footprint from Iraq, we see the outcome from our fight in Afghanistan is still uncertain," he said. "Al Qaeda remains committed to attacks against our country, so the demand for ISR products is strong. If we were a stock, you'd want to invest in us. That's exactly what I intend to do."

After relinquishing command of AFISRA, General Heithold was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general in a separate ceremony. He immediately assumed his new duties as Vice Commander, United States Special Operations Command, in Washington, D.C.

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