No Weapons Storage Area for Barksdale

The Air Force is abandoning plans to reestablish a nuclear weapons storage area at Barksdale AFB, La., since there are higher priorities for the funding required to do this, said Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz. “The reality is that we had other more pressing matters . . . that required investment that out-prioritized the WSA,” Schwartz told the House Armed Services Committee during testimony last week on the service’s Fiscal 2012 budget proposal. Instead, crews and nuclear-capable B-52s from Barksdale will continue to train at Minot AFB, N.D., on a regular basis, he said. Minot, home to a combat-ready B-52 wing like Barksdale, operates a nuclear WSA. “I don’t deny that the optimal solution would be to have two WSAs,” explained Schwartz, adding, however, that, “The bottom line is that we think . . . the current solution is workable.” Reopening a nuclear WSA at Barksdale was one component of USAF’s nuclear enterprise revitalization announced in 2008. (For background on the WSA issue, see Strike Command Steps Up from Air Force Magazine’s 2010 archives)