Air Force Global Strike Command is tentatively scheduled to have its activation ceremony on Aug. 7 at Barksdale AFB, La., Maj. Gen. Floyd Carpenter, the new commander of 8th Air Force, told the Senate Armed Services strategic forces panel yesterday. Barksdale was selected in April as the preferred headquarters site for the new nuclear-centric major command, pending completion of the environmental impact analysis required by US law. Carpenter said the public comment period for the environmental process concludes on June 27. Barring anything unforeseen, the Air Force would be able to make its basing decision final shortly thereafter. Global Strike Command is expected to assume initial operations at the end of September. The Minuteman III ICBM fleet under 20th AF is expected to move from Air Force Space Command to the new command in December. Meanwhile, 8th AF, with its B-2A and B-52H bombers, will transfer next February from Air Combat Command over to the new organization, Carpenter said. The Air Force anticipates that Global Strike Command will be fully operational capable in September 2010. Carpenter replaced Lt. Gen. Bob Elder, who is formally retiring, effective July 1.
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.