10 August 2009
AF Global Strike Command Activated
by TSgt. Amaani Lyle
Air Force Print News
Air Force officials stood up a new major command to oversee all of its nuclear
forces in an activation ceremony Aug. 7 at Barksdale Air Force Base, La.
Air Force Global Strike Command will provide combat ready forces to conduct
strategic nuclear deterrence and global strike operations in support of combatant
"This week we achieved a major milestone in the activation of Air Force Global
Strike Command," said Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley. "The command will bring
together our strategic nuclear forces under a single commander, and will provide
combatant commanders with the forces to conduct strategic nuclear deterrence and
global strike operations through intercontinental ballistic missiles, B-2 (Spirit)
and B-52 (Stratofortress) operations."
The creation of Air Force Global Strike Command began last fall with the approval of
a nuclear roadmap developed by Secretary Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen.
Norton Schwartz. Air Force officials took a critical look at its nuclear mission
after discovering shortcomings in its procedures
"Our expectation for the command is high, as it focuses on precision, reliability,
and compliance on all nuclear matters," General Schwartz said. "Lieutenant General
Frank (G.) Klotz will lead the new command fulfilling his role as the steward of the
Air Force's contribution to America's deterrent posture and, more importantly, lead
the Airmen who are the core of the Air Force's nuclear enterprise."
Nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate as the AFGSC commander,
General Klotz previously served as assistant vice chief of staff and director of Air
Force staff. In those positions he's had a close view of the Air Force efforts to
reinvigorate the Air Force's nuclear enterprise.
"The activation of Global Strike Command is part of a broader, comprehensive
strategy the Air Force is undertaking to ensure we have the proper focus on our
critical missions that provide nuclear deterrence and global strike forces for the
combatant commander, the joint team and our allies," General Klotz said.
The new major command is the latest -- and largest -- reorganization in the Air
Force's ongoing effort to reinvigorate the Air Force nuclear enterprise. Late last
year the Air Force established a directorate at Headquarters Air Staff (A10) focused
solely on the nuclear mission. The service also increased the size and scope of
operations at the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center to consolidate all nuclear
The activation of Air Force Global Strike Command is the "next and very important
step," said General Klotz, noting that there are still more milestones ahead.
In December, command officials assume responsibility of 20th Air Force at F.E.
Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., and the ICBM force. In February 2010, the command staff
gains 8th Air Force at Barksdale AFB and the nuclear-capable bomber force. The 576th
Flight Test Squadron at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., as well as the 625th Strategic
Operations Squadron at Offutt AFB, Neb., will also fall under the new command. Like
other Air Force major commands, Air Force Global Strike Command will be a total
force team with the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard units performing
critical roles and responsibilities. Ultimately, the command will consist of 23,000
The stand-up of a single command focused on nuclear operations has led many to draw
parallels to Strategic Air Command, which led the Air Force's nuclear operations
until 1992. When asked about the comparison to SAC, General Klotz said AFGSC
represents an important part of the service's evolution from its original nuclear
"Strategic Air Command was a magnificent organization with a legacy of pride,
discipline, of attention to detail. It kept the peace. It helped win the Cold War,"
he said. "But times have changed."
The general asserted that although the Cold War is over, "we continue to need
nuclear forces to provide a deterrent to attack against the U.S. as well as to
assure our allies of our commitment to their security.
He stressed it will be the people of Air Force Global Strike Command who ultimately
maintain the credibility and viability of this important mission.