Global Strike Command assumes ICBM mission

AFGSCShieldOn December 1, 2009, the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) gained three missile wings, one each at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo.; Malmstrom AFB, Mont.; and Minot AFB, N.D.  The new command, activated in August, will assume the 20th Air Force mission, including that organization’s responsibility for the all of the United States’ 450 ICBMs.  Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz, Commander, AFGSC, welcomed the Airmen who will now fall under his command. Below is the transcript of his welcome address.

To the Men and Women of 20th Air Force and the 576th Flight Test Squadron

On December 1st, the Nation’s intercontinental ballistic missile force will transfer to Air Force Global Strike Command.  This action marks yet another milestone in the comprehensive roadmap laid out by the Secretary of the Air Force and our Chief of Staff to strengthen both the capability and the credibility of the Air Force nuclear enterprise.  It also reflects the Air Force’s firm and unshakable conviction that the most powerful weapons in our Nation’s arsenal are a special trust and responsibility – and, one of the Air Force’s top priorities!  Consolidating the ICBM force and the long-range, nuclear-capable bomber force under a single major command will enhance our ability to uphold the high standards required to operate, maintain, secure and support nuclear deterrence and global strike forces.

Even though the Cold War has ended, the world remains a dangerous and uncertain place. For this reason, the strategic nuclear triad continues to be the foundation of our national deterrent posture.  Each one of the triad’s three legs – the ICBM, the long-range bomber, and the sea-launched ballistic missile – makes a unique and complementary contribution to our national security.  The ICBM leg is the most available and responsive to national leadership.  Continuously on alert and deployed in 450 widely dispersed locations, the overall size and characteristics of the Minuteman III force presents any potential adversary with an almost insurmountable challenge should he contemplate an attack.  He cannot disarm the ICBM force without using up almost all of his own forces and, in the process, leaving himself vulnerable to the remaining two legs of the triad.  Therefore, he has no incentive to strike in the first place.  That’s the point.  In this way, the ICBM contributes immeasurably to both deterrence and stability in a crisis.

For this reason, a safe, secure and credible ICBM force – and a long-range, nuclear-capable bomber force — remains a critical Air Force mission and responsibility.  For the women and men of Global Strike Command that means we have an extraordinarily important mission; noble and worthy work to perform; work that demands the utmost in professionalism, discipline, excellence, and pride.

Everyone in Twentieth Air Force and the 576 FLTS should know that the entire senior leadership of the Air Force is extremely proud of each and every one of you, and of what you do every day.  With every alert tour, with every dispatch, every post, and every test you demonstrate over and over again that you truly are among the best and brightest who have ever served in the Air Force.

Now, as a member of the Air Force’s newest major command, you’ll be a valued member of an elite and highly-disciplined team – a team that values individual responsibility for success, uncompromising adherence to standards, superior technical and weapon system expertise, and pride in our nuclear heritage and mission.  Our Nation’s senior leaders and our fellow citizens are counting on you to get it absolutely right—every time.

Our ultimate success in this important work depends upon everyone assigned to Global Strike Command.  As your Commander, I promise to do all within my power to ensure you get the right guidance, right manpower, and right resources required to do your job; and, to ensure the well-being of you and your families.  It’s my honor and privilege to serve alongside you as together we build a model command!