|Air Force Global Strike Command|
Shield of Air Force Global Strike Command
|Active||7 August 2009 - present (As Air Force Global Strike Command)|
21 March 1946 - 1 June 1992 (as Strategic Air Command)
13 December 1944 - 21 March 1946 (as Continental Air Forces)
(75 years, 2 months)
|Country||United States of America|
|Branch|| United States Air Force (26 September 1947 - 1 June 1992; 7 August 2009 - present)|
United States Army ( Army Air Forces; 15 December 1944 - 26 September 1947)
|Role||"Provide strategic deterrence, global strike and combat support...anytime, anywhere"|
|Size||30,646 Airmen |
|Part of||United States Strategic Command|
|Headquarters||Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, U.S.|
|Nickname(s)||"America's Shield" |
Air Force Organization Excellence Award
|Commander||Gen Timothy Ray|
|Deputy Commander||Maj Gen Vito Addabbo|
|Command Chief||CCM Charles R. Hoffman|
|Bomber||B-1B, B-2A, B-52H|
Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) is a Major Command (MAJCOM) of the United States Air Force, headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. AFGSC provides combat-ready forces to conduct strategic nuclear deterrence and global strike operations in support of combatant commanders. It is subordinated to the USSTRATCOM.
Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) was established for the improvement of the management of the USAF portion of the United States' nuclear arsenal, which accounts for two-thirds of America's nuclear deterrent. It assumed responsibility for the nuclear-capable assets of Air Force Space Command on 1 December 2009 and the nuclear-capable assets of Air Combat Command on 1 February 2010.
The creation of Air Force Global Strike Command was outlined in the recommendations of the investigation following the 2007 United States Air Force nuclear weapons incident. The command was activated 7 August 2009, at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.
The mission of Air Force Global Strike Command is to "Develop and provide combat-ready forces for nuclear deterrence and global strike operations --Safe --Secure --Effective to support the President of the United States and combatant commanders."
AFGSC consists of over 31,000 personnel assigned to nine wings, two geographically-separated squadrons and one detachment in the continental United States and deployed to locations around the globe.
Changes to the AFGSC units began with the announcement of the 377th Air Base Wing's realignment in December 2014. In mid-April 2015, Air Force Times reported that "B-1 bombers from Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota and Dyess Air Force Base in Texas [will be] joining their long-range B-2 and B-52 bomber counterparts under a single Air Force command as part of a leadership shift announced Monday." This means that two bomb wings formerly under Air Combat Command will shift into AFGSC. The units came under the command on 1 October 2015. On 6 October 2016, the 595th Command and Control Group was activated at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska to assume the responsibility for the Boeing E-4 NAOC mission.
The command has a worldwide area of responsibility (AOR) as a subordinate component command of United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM). AFGSC is one of two USAF component commands in USSTRATCOM, the other being Air Force Space Command (AFSPC). Installations assigned to AFGSC include Barksdale Air Force Base, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Minot Air Force Base, F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Dyess Air Force Base, Ellsworth Air Force Base, Kirtland Air Force Base, and Whiteman Air Force Base.
Eighth Air Force is designated as U.S. Strategic Command's Task Force 204 (TF 204), providing on-alert, combat-ready forces to the President of the United States. The mission of "The Mighty Eighth" is to safeguard America's interests through strategic deterrence and global combat power. Eighth Air Force controls long-range nuclear-capable bomber assets throughout the United States and overseas locations. Its flexible, conventional and nuclear deterrence mission provides the capability to deploy forces and engage enemy threats from home station or forward positioned, anywhere, any time. The 8th Air Force motto is "Deterrence through strength, global strike on demand."
Twentieth Air Force is responsible for maintaining and operating the Air Force's intercontinental ballistic missile force. Designated as USSTRATCOM's Task Force 214 (TF 214), 20th Air Force provides on-alert, combat-ready ICBMs to the President of the United States.
The ICBMs are on 24-hour/365-day alert and are ready to launch on any given day.
AFGSC's Twentieth Air Force is the Air Force's lead command for and largest operator of UH-1N Huey helicopters. The UH-1N supports ICBM operations in missile fields controlled by F.E. Warren, Malmstrom and Minot Air Force Bases. In 2015, the 582d Helicopter Group was activated to supervise the three UH-1 squadrons.
Following the 2007 United States Air Force nuclear weapons incident when six AGM-129 Air-Launched Cruise Missiles (ALCM), each loaded with a W80-1 variable yield nuclear warhead, were mistakenly loaded onto a B-52H at Minot AFB and transported to Barksdale AFB and the 2008 incident in which four MK-12 forward-section reentry vehicle assemblies were mistakenly shipped to Taiwan, former Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger led an investigation into the status of U.S. Air Force nuclear surety. Secretary Schlesinger's recommendation was the creation of a single major command under which all Air Force nuclear assets should be placed for better accountability. On 24 October 2008, the Secretary of the United States Air Force, Michael Donley, announced the creation of the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) as a new Air Force major command (MAJCOM). Along with Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, AFGSC is one of two Air Force component commands reporting to United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) at Offutt.
The new command began operations in August 2009, combining the nuclear-capable strategic bomber force previously operated by Air Combat Command (ACC) and the land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) force previously operated by Air Force Space Command (AFSPC). ACC and AFSPC had assumed said responsibilities following the 1992 inactivation of Strategic Air Command (SAC).
The USAF currently has 20 B-2 Spirit and 57 B-52 Stratofortress bombers and three missile wings of Minuteman III ICBMs that are designated as nuclear-capable. When needed for conventional missions, the B-2 and B-52 bombers will be reassigned to regional commands. Although formerly assigned a nuclear mission, the Rockwell B-1 Lancer bomber force transitioned to a strictly conventional mission force and was initially retained in Air Combat Command, although that decision was reversed in 2015. The Rockwell B-1 Lancer bombers now are organized under the Air Force Global Strike Command.
In November 2008, the USAF announced plans to start a fourth B-52 squadron at Minot Air Force Base to support Air Force Global Strike Command. The USAF added that, "all the nuclear-capable bombers of what is now Eighth Air Force, and [command of all ICBMs] of what is now in Twentieth Air Force, will report to this single new command.". This action was accomplished on 3 September 2009, when the 69th Bomb Squadron reactivated at Minot Air Force Base.
The command's 55-member preliminary team, commanded by Major General James Kowalski, began operations at Bolling Air Force Base on 12 January 2009. The team was charged with finding a location for the new headquarters and transitioning the assigned units into the new command.
In April 2009, the preliminary team selected Barksdale Air Force Base as the headquarters for the new command. Donley stated that the factors which contributed to the selection of Barksdale over the other candidate bases were its connection to the 8th Air Force, a "slightly larger [air] operations center", and the base's hosting of the 11th Bomb Squadron, which trains B-52 aircrews and will be adding special emphasis on nuclear training.
On 16 April 2009, United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that Air Force Lieutenant General Frank G. Klotz was nominated to be the first commander of the Global Strike Command. Prior to his assignment to AFGSC, Lt Gen Klotz was the Assistant Vice Chief of Staff and Director of the Air Force Staff.
On 18 June, after an environmental assessment finding of "No Significant Impact", Barksdale Air Force Base was announced as the permanent location for AFGSC. On 7 August 2009, the command officially became active with Lt. Gen. Klotz assuming command of the organization. The headquarters staff includes 900 people, and reached full operational capability by 30 September 2010.
The Twentieth Air Force, the service's missile organization, came under the new command on 1 December 2009, and the Eighth Air Force, the bomber component, came under the command on 1 February 2010.