James Touts Benefits of Nuclear Reorganization

Detailing recent changes to the Department of Defense’s nuclear mission, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said the realignment of parts of USAF’s nuclear mission under a dual-hatted major general will lead to greater sustainment efficiencies for the Air Force’s nuclear systems. In a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Tuesday evening, James said the plan to merge the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center at Kirtland AFB, N.M., and the Air Force Program Executive Office for Strategic Systems, also at Kirtland, will join together acquisition efforts and support management duties for USAF nuclear systems. Going forward, the Air Force will have “one senior leader accountable for the entirety of the weapons system … the missile, the launch facilities, and the supporting equipment” for both support activities and acquisition. The 377th Air Base Wing, host of the AFNWC, will move from Air Force Materiel Command to Air Force Global Strike Command as part of the change, to streamline product support and modernization. The USAFNWC also will be reorganized into three directorates—two of which will focus on ICBMs and aircraft-delivered nuclear weapons and the third to focus on nuclear requirements and engaging with the rest of the nuclear enterprise and other agencies.