The 69th Bomb Squadron at Minot AFB, N.D., the Air Force’s newest B-52H bomber unit, has received initial certification to perform its strategic mission after undergoing its initial nuclear surety inspection last week. This evaluation was coupled with a no-notice limited NSI for the 5th Bomb Wing, its parent organization, that was also completed with “positive results,” according to Minot officials. The inspections took place Jan. 19-23. “These results are because of each and every one of you here at Minot Air Force Base being fully engaged in demonstrating safe, secure, and reliable nuclear operations,” said Col. Douglas Cox, 5th BW boss, who’s been in place only since last November after a leadership shake-up. He added, “This is an achievement you can feel good about.” The 69th BS was activated in September 2009. (Minot report) (For more, see Monday’s Minot Daily News report.)
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.