Air Force Global Strike Command has formed a provisional helicopter operations group that will provide a more focused command chain for the three helicopter squadrons in the 20th Air Force. The operational group, established at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., will work to “identify, prioritize, and create the facility, personnel, communications, and process infrastructure required” to take control of the three squadrons at the end of its provisional period, said Col. Dave Smith, the helicopter operations group commander, in a July 31 release. The group was recommended by the Force Improvement Program, which was initiated to allow airmen “to take ownership of their mission through grass-roots suggestions to improve mission effectiveness and morale,” said Maj. Gen. Jack Weinstein, 20th AF commander. “The main request from the helicopter community was for an aviation-focused chain of command equipped to meet the unique needs of flight operations, all leading to providing the best helicopter support to the ICBM missions,” said Bart Beisner, the 20th AF FIP coordinator. Sometime next year, the new group will assume control of the 37th, 40th, and 54th Helicopter Squadrons and a newly formed operations support squadron tailored for the three helicopter units. (See also Global Strike Evolution from the August issue of Air Force Magazine.)
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.