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Under Secretary praises Global Strike Command at symposium

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Mary Davis
  • 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Detailing the significant commitment of Air Force senior leaders to the nuclear mission, Under Secretary of the Air Force Erin C. Conaton told a packed convention hall here Nov. 17 that the nuclear and global strike mission is critical to the United States.

"What you do matters; it matters to the Air Force and to our nation's security," Ms. Conaton told more than 400 Air Force Global Strike Command Technology and Innovation Symposium attendees and Global Strike Challenge competitors at the Shreveport Convention Center here. "Your contributions are why we have a safe and secure nuclear enterprise, and an effective strategic deterrent."

Ms. Conaton emphasized that for the Air Force, strengthening the nuclear enterprise is a top priority.

"Your work is on the front pages of papers around the country and on the table for discussions at the highest levels of our government," she said. "What has not changed, nor will ever change, is that this mission demands a level of attention to detail and constant vigilance beyond all others in the Department of Defense."

After becoming the Air Force's under secretary, the first base Ms. Conaton visited was an Air Force Global Strike Command installation. Since then, she has toured both B-52 Stratofortress and B-2 Spirit bombers, and visited a missile launch control center. Ms. Conaton lauded the work of the Airmen associated with those missions.

"These Airmen, though not always deployed to overseas locations, spend large amounts of time away from their homes and families in order to keep us safe," she said.

Since the strength of the Air Force's nuclear enterprise lies within the hands of Airmen to maintain a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent, a lot is expected of them, she said.

"And we can be proud that we've taken some significant steps over the past few years to ensure we remain a credible strategic force both at home and abroad," Ms. Conaton said.

As one example, the under secretary commended Air Force Global Strike Command for reaching full operational capability Sept. 30, on schedule and less than 14 months after the command's official activation.

Ms. Conaton pointed out that Air Force Global Strike Command's first-ever Global Strike Challenge is "a continuation of a long history of vigorous competition between Air Force nuclear professionals that serves to improve our readiness. I know that the fierce competition brought out the best in you."

The under secretary concluded her remarks with the following words for the Airmen of Air Force Global Strike Command:

"We're celebrating the first year of Global Strike Command, but our nuclear mission has a rich heritage. For more than 60 years in a variety of command structures, our Airmen have done an incredible job of remaining vigilant and prepared to respond, in order to deter the threat of nuclear attack.

"It was brave Airmen like you--missileers and bomber crews--who helped to defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis, won the Cold War, and even now stand watch to deter aggression from around the globe.

"Because we live in a world where nuclear weapons exist, and we face enemies that seek to do us grave harm, our missileers stand constant alert. Our bombers remain prepared to generate. Our nuclear security forces continually patrol. And our maintainers and force support personnel ensure our weapons systems and operators are always at the ready.

"They do all this while focusing on excellence, adhering to the highest standards, and executing the precise day-to-day operations required of those responsible for our nuclear weapons systems. It is an amazing thing you do, and you serve a grateful nation."