Air Force Global Strike Command is changing the career path for its strategic missile control officers to keep more of them in that field to provide the future leaders, Gen. Robin Rand said Thursday. Speaking at an AFA Mitchell Institute forum, the AFGSC commander said the previous system of assessing an excess number of missile controllers and watching them leave for other duties after three years in that job was not working. Now, those officers will remain in the controller assignments longer, before moving on to gain the broader experience other Air Force officers receive, Rand said. But they will return to the field at 12 to 15 years of service “to be the commanders of that field,” with the best moving up to become missile wing and group commanders, and “the best of the best becoming general officers,” he said. Rand said he would leave it to others to determine if the morale of those officers had improved since Air Force leaders had moved aggressively to correct issues within the command. “Our job is to assure them they are making a difference” and to “resource them properly.” Judging morale by mission effectiveness, “our airmen are performing spectacularly,” Rand said.
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.