Deliberate Moves

The Air Force’s Minuteman III ICBM force likely will be the first of the service’s nuclear legs to transfer to Air Force Global Strike Command, followed later by the nuclear-capable bombers, Maj. Gen. Donald Alston, head of the Air Staff’s strategic deterrence and nuclear integration office, said April 24 on Capitol Hill. AFGSC, the Air Force’s fledgling nuclear-centric major command, is expected to commence formal operations at the end of September at Barksdale AFB, La. However, the missile and bomber assets probably will not be under its operational control until later, Alston said during a National Defense University Foundation breakfast. The ICBMs likely will shift from Air Force Space Command’s oversight to AFSGC “closer to the end of the year,” while the bombers come over from Air Combat Command “soon after that,” he explained. Alston repeated the Air Force’s message that the transfer of the ICBMs and bombers is a very deliberate process and will not be rushed to meet an arbitrary schedule. “We will transfer that responsibility when we are ready,” he said. (For more on the standup of Air Force Global Strike Command, read The Nuclear Force Revival from the February issue of Air Force Magazine.)