Getting Philosophical

Air Force Global Strike Command is driving a comprehensive program to increase its manning, modernize its weapons and facilities, and improve the morale and quality of its nuclear deterrence airmen, said command boss Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson on Tuesday. The efforts are called the Force Improvement Program, which is “a philosophy that every day we will make [our operations] better,” he told the audience during the nuclear enterprise panel at AFA’s Air & Space Conference in National Harbor, Md. That is guided by the knowledge that “nuclear deterrence is Mission One” for the Defense Department, he said. Wilson said the command has added 1,100 airmen, is working toward 100-percent manning, and will spend an additional $500 million over future years’ budgets to help bolster infrastructure and facilities and support its airmen. A key part of the command’s efforts is improvements to the primary weapons, including a new solid rocket engine for Minuteman III ICBMs, digital connectivity for the B-52 fleet, an urgent modernization to the B-61 nuclear weapon, and a replacement for the Air Launched Cruise Missile. The Air Force must also modernize the air leg of the nuclear triad with the Long Range Strike Bomber, he said.