Air Force Global Strike Command to Oversee Nuke Units

The U.S. Air Force on Wednesday said its established nuclear command is slated in the next year to assume oversight of munitions units involved in managing the nation's nuclear forces (see GSN, Oct. 4, 2010).

The squadrons are currently under the Air Force Materiel Command and were previously unified under the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, service Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said (see GSN, Jan. 25). The transfer of the units to the Air Force Global Strike Command would serve to further streamline control of the military branch's nuclear operations, he said.

"The munitions squadrons were placed under Air Force Materiel Command at the outset of our effort to reinvigorate the nuclear enterprise," Schwartz said in a statement. "AFMC and its leaders have done an outstanding job restoring excellence in munitions operations, and they, along with the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, will remain a key part of the nuclear munitions sustainment and integration process."

The Global Strike Command was established to strengthen the Air Force's nuclear mission following a series of embarrassing incidents, including the 2006 accidental shipment of four nuclear missile fuses to Taiwan and the unintended flight of six nuclear-armed cruise missiles across several U.S. states.

The command is based at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. The squadrons would remain based at their present physical locations, and the number of personnel in the units would not change significantly, according to Schwartz.

"Almost two years after being established, Air Force Global Strike Command is now a mature organization capable of integrating the munitions function into the larger nuclear mission," he said.

The transfer involves the 798th Munitions Maintenance Group and 17th Munitions Squadron at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, the 498th Munitions Maintenance Group and 19th Munitions Squadron at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, the 15th Munitions Squadron at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, the 16th Munitions Squadron at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, the 498th Nuclear Systems Wing at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, and the 798th Munitions Maintenance Group, Detachment 1, at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California (U.S. Air Force Materiel Command release, April 27).

April 28, 2011
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The U.S. Air Force on Wednesday said its established nuclear command is slated in the next year to assume oversight of munitions units involved in managing the nation's nuclear forces (see GSN, Oct. 4, 2010).