The Air Force leadership is bringing together the members of the service’s newly established nuclear oversight board today at the Pentagon for the senior-level body’s inaugural meeting. Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Elizabeth Aptekar confirmed yesterday that the half-day event was still on. Creation of the board is one of the key actions that the Air Force is undertaking to reinvigorate its nuclear enterprise. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Gen. Norton Schwartz, Chief of Staff, will jointly chair the board, which is scheduled to meet quarterly. Participants will be those senior leaders with nuclear responsibilities, such as the heads of Air Combat Command and Air Force Space Command, and USAF’s inspector general. The board’s main purpose will be to establish nuclear-related policies and standards as well as develop and oversee enterprise-level performance metrics. Initially, its focus will be on ensuring that the Air Force is successfully implementing the numerous changes outlined in the service’s nuclear roadmap, such as standing up Air Force Global Strike Command, the new nuclear-focused major command due to begin operations next year. “Job one is to implement the roadmap and . . . this is also going to be a key body by which we expose progress,” Maj. Gen. Donald Alston, USAF’s new nuclear czar on the Air Staff, told the Daily Report in an interview last month. Alston, who heads the Air Staff’s new A10 office, serves as the board’s executive secretary. Alston said the board will provide the opportunity “for dialogue and accountability” at the corporate level. “There is more authority associated with each level here and therefore I think that the impact of their decisions is going to be felt,” he said.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.