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Air Force Global Strike Command

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Air Force Global Strike Command
Shield of Air Force Global Strike Command
Active7 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)
(79 years, 7 months)[1]
CountryUnited 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)[1]
TypeMajor Command
Role"Provide strategic deterrence, global strike and combat support…anytime, anywhere"[2]
Size30,646 Airmen
178 aircraft
406 ICBMs[3]
Part of
United States Strategic Command
HeadquartersBarksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, U.S.
Nickname(s)"America's Shield"[4]
Motto(s)Certare Vel Mori[2][failed verification] (Compete or Die)

Air Force Organization Excellence Award[1]
CommanderGen Thomas A. Bussiere
Deputy CommanderLt Gen Michael Lutton
Command ChiefCCM Melvina A. Smith
Aircraft flown
BomberB-1B, B-2A, B-52H[3]
Utility helicopterUH-1N, to be replaced by Grey Wolf[5]

The 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.[6] Air Force Global Strike Command is the Air Force's service component to the United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM).

Air Force Global Strike Command is the direct descendant unit of the Cold War–era Strategic Air Command (SAC). It holds the lineage, history and honors of SAC.[7]

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/5
    4 311
    1 691 559
    18 735
    472 154
    71 233
  • U.S. Air Force: Global Strike - Our Nation's Shield
  • America's Nuclear Warriors - Global Strike Command
  • 20th Air Force Air Force Global Strike Command Convoy Response Force
  • The U.S. Air Force is Getting Ready For Its New Nuclear Weapons
  • America's Nuclear Warriors - Global Strike Command



See: Strategic Air Command for history prior to 2009
Secretary of the United States Air Force Michael Donley discusses the creation of the Global Strike Command

Following the 2007 United States Air Force nuclear weapons incident when six AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missiles (ACM), 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).[8] The AFGSC is the only remaining Air Force component command reporting to the 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 those responsibilities following the 1992 inactivation of Strategic Air Command (SAC).

The USAF currently has 20 B-2 Spirit, 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.[9] Although formerly assigned a nuclear mission, the Rockwell B-1 Lancer bomber force transitioned to a strictly conventional mission force. The B-1 was initially retained in Air Combat Command, although that decision was reversed in 2015.[10] The Rockwell B-1 Lancer bombers are now 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.[11] 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.".[12] This action was accomplished on 3 September 2009, when the 69th Bomb Squadron reactivated at Minot Air Force Base.[13]

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 for transitioning the assigned units into the new command.[14]

In April 2009, the preliminary team selected Barksdale Air Force Base as the headquarters for the new command.[15] 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.[16]

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.[17] Prior to his assignment to AFGSC, Klotz was the Assistant Vice Chief of Staff and Director of the Air Force Staff.[18]

On 18 June, after an environmental assessment finding of "No Significant Impact", Barksdale Air Force Base was announced as the permanent location for AFGSC.[19] On 7 August 2009, the command officially became active with 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.[9]

Role and operations

Air Force Global Strike Command headquarters is based at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana

Air Force Global Strike Command 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.[20]

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."[21] The command has a worldwide area of responsibility (AOR) as a subordinate component command of United States Strategic Command.

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.[22]

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.[23] 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.[24]

Strategic bombers

A B-52 Stratofortress, B-1B Lancer and B-2A Spirit

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."[22] Offensive aircraft assets include the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit, Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, and Boeing B-1B Lancer.

The Missouri Air National Guard's 131st Bomb Wing is an associate unit of the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, flying the B-2A Spirit. If federalized, it is gained by Eighth Air Force. The Air Force Reserve Command's 307th Bomb Wing is an associate unit of the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, flying the B-52H Stratofortress. In addition, it's geographically separated 489th Bomb Group is an associate unit of the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess AFB, flying the B-1B Lancer. If activated, it is gained by Eighth Air Force.

Intercontinental ballistic missiles

U.S. ground-based nuclear weapons (all LGM-30 Minuteman missiles) are deployed across three Air Force bases, spanning five states.

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.[22] The ICBMs are on 24-hour/365-day alert and are ready to launch on any given day.[22]

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.[22] In 2015, the 582d Helicopter Group was activated to supervise the three UH-1 squadrons.[25] The Huey will be replaced by the Boeing MH-139 Grey Wolf.[5]

Component units

Air Force Global Strike Command comprises the following wings and major units.[26][27]

Air reserve

Air Force Global Strike Command has operational "gaining command" responsibility for several Air Reserve Component (ARC) units, comprising personnel and aircraft from Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) and the Air National Guard (ANG).

Air Force Reserve Command

Missouri Air National Guard

Other units

  • Air Operations Group (Otis ANGB, Massachusetts)
  • USAF Nuclear Command, Control and Communications Center (Barksdale AFB)

List of commanders

Gen Thomas A. Bussiere (right) assumes command of AFGSC on 7 December 2022.
No. Commander Term
Portrait Name Took office Left office Term length
1Klotz, FrankLieutenant General
Frank Klotz
(born 1950)
7 August 20096 January 20111 year, 152 days
2Kowalski, JamesLieutenant General
James Kowalski
(born 1957)
6 January 201123 October 20132 years, 290 days
3Wilson, Stephen W.Lieutenant General
Stephen W. Wilson
(born 1959/1960)
23 October 201328 July 20151 year, 278 days
4Rand, RobinGeneral
Robin Rand
(born 1955/1956)
28 July 201521 August 20183 years, 24 days
5Ray, Timothy M.General
Timothy M. Ray
21 August 201827 August 20213 years, 6 days
6Cotton, Anthony J.General
Anthony J. Cotton
27 August 20217 December 20221 year, 102 days
7Bussiere, ThomasGeneral
Thomas A. Bussiere
(born c. 1963)
7 December 2022Incumbent1 year, 222 days


Activated on 15 December 1944
Redesignated: Strategic Air Command on 21 March 1946
Inactivated on 1 June 1992
  • Redesignated as Air Force Global Strike Command, and activated, on 7 August 2009



Aircraft and missiles

See also

Comparable organizations


Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency

  1. ^ a b c "Air Force Global Strike Command (USAF)". Air Force Historical Research Agency.
  2. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 May 2017. Retrieved 12 May 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 April 2018. Retrieved 29 November 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "PACE > Products > Videos > Identity Video Series > Global Strike Command". Archived from the original on 26 January 2018. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  5. ^ a b Everstine, Brian (19 December 2019). "Huey Replacement Helo Named MH-139A 'Grey Wolf'". Air Force Magazine. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  6. ^ "Units". Archived from the original on 19 September 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  7. ^ "AIR FORCE GLOBAL STRIKE COMMAND (USAF)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. 17 July 2009. Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  8. ^ Associated Press, "New Unit To Manage AF Nuclear Arsenal", reported in Arizona Daily Star, 25 October 2008.
  9. ^ a b "United States Department of Defense".
  10. ^ "Air Force Realigns B-1 Bombers Under Global Strike Command". 22 April 2015. Archived from the original on 10 November 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  11. ^ "Additional BUFFs to Minot". Air & Space Forces Magazine. 24 November 2008.
  12. ^ Norris, Guy, "Bouncing Back: B-52 expansion underpins resurgent nuclear role", Aviation Week & Space Technology, 1 December 2008, p. 32.
  13. ^ Tech. Sgt. Lee Osberry Jr. "69th Bomb Squadron reactivates at Minot AFB". Archived from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  14. ^ Hoffman, Michael, "Provisional nuclear command stands up Archived 21 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine", Military Times, 13 January 2009.
  15. ^ "Air Force Global Strike Command". Air Force.
  16. ^ Prime, John Andrew, "Local Base Is First Choice For New Unit: Air Force Global Strike Command could result in 1,000 or more personnel", The Times (Shreveport), 3 April 2009.
  17. ^ "United States Department of Defense".
  18. ^ "Air Force Link – MAJOR GENERAL FRANK G. KLOTZ". 8 February 2004. Archived from the original on 8 February 2004.
  19. ^ "News".
  20. ^ Air Force officials to establish new nuclear major command, Air Force News Service
  21. ^ "AFGSC Mission and Vision". Archived from the original on 25 May 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2009.
  22. ^ a b c d e "Air Force Global Air Command factsheet". Archived from the original on 17 February 2013.
  23. ^ "AF realigns B-1, LRS-B under Air Force Global Strike Command". Global Strike Command. 20 May 2015. Archived from the original on 19 June 2015. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  24. ^ a b "595th Command and Control Group activates at Offutt". 4 October 2016.
  25. ^ McGuire, Carlie (1 April 2015). "582 Helicopter Squad Activated". News Channel CBS 5. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  26. ^ "Units". Air Force Global Strike Command. Archived from the original on 19 April 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  27. ^ "Air Force Global Strike Command Factsheet". US Air Force. November 2017. Archived from the original on 2 May 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  28. ^ Meares, Mike (19 December 2019). "Air Force Names Newest Helicopter 'Grey Wolf'". United States Air Force. Retrieved 30 December 2019.

External links

This page was last edited on 10 July 2024, at 23:57
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