Based on decisions made at last week’s Corona leadership summit, the Air Force announced yesterday that it will establish a “nuclear-focused major command” to concentrate the service’s support for the US military’s nuclear and deterrence missions. And the service plans to create a new numbered air force for cyber operations within Air Force Space Command, apparently axing plans to form a major command for cyber. Locations for the new nuclear command and cyber NAF were not addressed and will require further deliberation, according to the announcement. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said the service will announce “soon” more of its decisions regarding the nuclear enterprise, including the release of its nuclear roadmap, because they are “crucial steps” toward re-attaining excellence and re-vitalizing the Air Force’s nuclear culture. He said the conduct of cyber operations is “a complex issue,” as the Department of Defense and interagency partners have “substantial equity” in the realm. But the Air Force “will continue to do” its part to increase its cyber capabilities, he said. Among the other decisions rendered at Corona, the service leadership decided to assign a senior Air Force officer to certain joint force commanders; this officer will have command authority to direct air support. The service leaders also discussed which missions and functional specialties should receive additional allocations under the new 330,000 active duty end strength ceiling. “The leadership will work to close this issue for this budget cycle in the coming weeks,” said Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz.
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.