Going forward, a four-star general will lead Air Force Global Strike Command and a three-star general will oversee the Air Staff’s nuclear directorate under the changes to the Defense Department’s nuclear enterprise that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel detailed on Friday. “We must change the cultural prestige of the nuclear mission” and ensure the mission’s profile is commensurate with its importance among the service’s mission areas, said Hagel in announcing these changes at a Pentagon briefing. That’s why he said he endorsed the Air Force proposal to elevate the AFGSC’s commander to a four-star billet and the Air Staff office to a three-star position. Beyond incentive-pay reforms and personnel actions, Hagel said the Air Force has identified some $150 million in Fiscal 2015 for investment in equipment and facilities. For example, the Air Force intends to upgrade its fleet of four-wheel-drive vehicles that service the ICBM fields, update security forces gear, and enhance ICBM training facilities and communications. The Air Force will also move forward with replacing its fleet of UH-1 utility helicopters that help protect the ICBM fields and will improve their infrastructure. It will also upgrade weapons storage facilities at four locations starting with F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo. (Hagel’s prepared comments and DOD factsheet)
As the U.S. continues to pursue a diplomatic resolution with Russia over its troop buildup on the Ukraine border, the Defense Department is looking into what capabilities it will need to reassure NATO allies if Russia does launch an invasion, its top spokesperson said Jan. 21.