Chin Up

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel thanked airmen of the 90th Missile Wing at F. E. Warren AFB, Wyo., for their oft-overlooked commitment to assuring the US’ nuclear deterrence, while stressing the importance of nuclear arms reduction. The Jan. 9 visit, which follows reports the ICBM force suffers the lowest job satisfaction in the Air Force, was the final stop in a two-day trip to Wyoming, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Texas. Hagel said he was impressed by the “professionalism” as well as the “attitude and commitment” of airmen at both F.E. Warren and the Nuclear Weapons Center at Kirtland AFB, N.M., which he visited the day before. Hagel also underscored the Administration’s commitment to New START, saying reducing the country’s nuclear arsenal is “clearly in our national security interest and we’ll continue to be part of that effort.” However, the US also will continue to modernize its deterrent force, stressed Hagel. “Reducing those nuclear weapons, I think, is important,” he said. As to modernization, he said the Defense Department’s study to determine options for a Minuteman III replacement are nearly complete. “We’re going to invest in the modernization we need to invest in to keep that deterrent stronger than it’s ever been, and you have my commitment to that, and you deserve to know that,” he added. (DOD release on F.E. Warren visit) (DOD release on Kirtland visit)