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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Global Strike Command leader updates progress

by Tech. Sgt. Amaani Lyle
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

10/7/2009 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force Global Strike Command's top officer provided an update on the command's progress toward full operational capability during a speech at the Capitol Hill Club here Oct. 2.

Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz, the AFGSC commander, outlined the progress in bringing online the first new major command in decades since its official stand up Aug. 7, describing the mission as one part of a multiprong strategy to refocus the Air Force on one of its top priorities: the nuclear enterprise.

"The Air Force has been and will always be a service that operates at the leading edge of technology," General Klotz said. "(The) legacy of service and sacrifice has continued beyond the Cold War, and is still vitally important in winning today's fight and preparing for tomorrow's challenges."

Air Force Global Strike Command's fundamental mission is to provide safe, secure, reliable and effective forces for nuclear deterrence and global strike operations in support of combatant commanders and the president.

"As important as other defense priorities may be ... there is none more important than our special trust and responsibility for nuclear weapons," General Klotz said. "If there is one unchanging, immutable truth it is that nuclear weapons demand our constant and undivided attention."

The general said progress has been swift in building AFGSC into a full-fledged major command headquarters. The initial manpower cadre of more than 275 permanent and temporary commissioned and noncommissioned officers at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., will be dedicated to working hundreds of action items "with all eyes firmly fixed on the upcoming assumption of the (intercontinental ballistic missile) and bomber missions," General Klotz said.

The general affirmed the command's commitment to providing robust advocacy for current and future bomber capabilities in the conventional as well as the nuclear realm.

"This new command reflects the Air Force's firm and unshakeable conviction that strategic nuclear deterrence and global strike operations are a special trust and responsibility," General Klotz said. "We are determined to do it absolutely right."

The ICBM mission transfer Dec. 1 will add approximately 8,000 personnel and stewardship of 450 Minuteman III missiles located at F. E. Warren AFB, Wyo., Malmstrom AFB, Mont., and Minot AFB, N.D., to the command. On Feb. 1, the nuclear-capable bomber mission transfer will add another 12,000 personnel and three bomb wings, flying both B-2 Spirits (at Whiteman AFB, Mo.) and B-52 Stratofortresses (at Barksdale AFB, La., and Minot AFB.).

The command continues toward obtaining full operational capability and by next summer will have approximately 900 people at the headquarters and nearly 23,000 across six wings at five installations, plus two geographically separated squadrons. Those two squadrons are the 576th Flight Test Squadron at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., for the ICBM test, and the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron at Offutt AFB, Neb., for targeting analysis.

AFGSC officials will also assume lead command responsibility for the UH-1N Huey helicopter, with a focus on replacing the platform with one more suitable to the post-9/11 requirements of providing security to the fielded ICBM force.

The general also discussed the complementary missions of bombers and nuclear missiles.

"The ICBM force contributes immeasurably to both deterrence and perhaps more importantly, to stability in a crisis," the general said. He described the 20th Air Force's ICBMs, as "...the most responsive to national leadership, continuously on alert, and deployed in 450 widely dispersed locations.

"The size and characteristics of the overall Minuteman III force presents any potential adversary with an almost insurmountable challenge," the general said.

The general also characterized the 8th Air Force's B-52 and B-2 forces as "critically important because of their great flexibility and versatility ... and absolutely essential to strategic nuclear deterrence."

He noted that the two types of bombers have mutually reinforcing complementary capabilities: The B-52 provides unique stand-off capabilities and the B-2s have prowess in attacking heavily defended targets.

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