The reforms to the nuclear enterprise unveiled by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last week will “strengthen nuclear deterrence” in the Asia-Pacific region, which is essential to the US security posture there, said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James. She appeared with Pacific Air Forces boss Gen. Lori Robinson before reporters on Nov. 17 at JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The base was the first stop on James’ tour of PACAF”s area of responsibility, her first visit to the region since taking office in January. James is scheduled to spend 11 days in the region, with stops in Guam, Japan, South Korea, and Alaska. Hagel, with James standing nearby, briefed reporters at the Pentagon on Nov. 14 on the actions the Defense Department would take to improve nuclear deterrent forces. They include clarifying the leadership structure and reducing administrative burdens; providing increased resources to improve and sustain current equipment; and changing the culture of micromanagement to boost morale and improve how training and inspections are conducted.
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force recently, as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S., as the bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.