The change to the 72-hour schedule actually will provide young missile officers the early leadership opportunities currently lacking in the field, according to the head of operations for 20th Air Force, Col. Michael Vaughn. (See above.) Today, the two-person teams remain sequestered in their capsule below the missile alert facility. With the advent of three-person teams, one officer will always be topside, sometimes sleeping but also interacting with the enlisted security forces, facility managers, and cooks at the MAF. And, 20th Air Force also abandoned an initial notion to have the alert crews made up of two missile crew commanders and one deputy. The crews are “only going to have one commander,” Vaughn said along with a mid-level position and a deputy. Officials are currently “taking steps” to ensure the middle position missileers meet all requirements for running the capsule when the crew commander is topside.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.