BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. Air Force Global Strike Command was declared to be at full operational capability on Thursday on schedule, and less than 14 months after its initial activation as a command.
Minot Air Force Base's 5th Bomb Wing and 91st Missile Wing are units of Global Strike Command.
To reach its milestone, the command accomplished more than 700 action items identified by the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force in 2009, when they chartered Global Strike Command to strengthen the nuclear enterprise by aligning all Air Force long-range nuclear-capable forces under a single command.
Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz, Global Strike Command commander, reported full operational capability status in a memorandum to the Secretary and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force Friday.
Full operational capability status is the final step in any military unit's stand-up. Air Force Global Strike Command is the first completely new major command the Air Force has activated in more than 27 years.
"Our successful stand-up was possible because of the commitment, innovative spirit, and sheer hard work of Global Strike Command airmen," said Klotz.
"This talented team of professionals put in place all the functions of a major command while simultaneously executing those functions. This unique challenge was a lot like building an aircraft while actually flying it," he added.
Prior to activation as a major command, what was then Air Force Global Strike Command Provisional was launched in January 2009 at Bolling AFB, Washington, D.C., under the leadership of then-Brig. Gen. Jim Kowalski, now a two-star general and the command's vice commander. Kowalski has been nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate for a third star and to become the next commander of Global Strike Command when Klotz retires early next year, after more than 37 years on active duty.
The command was formally activated at Barksdale Aug. 7, 2009, on the premise that no mission is more important than operating, maintaining, securing and supporting the nuclear enterprise, officials said.
Since then, according to Klotz's official memo, the command has established and manned a fully-functional headquarters. It also assumed responsibility for all units of both 20th Air Force, headquartered at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., and 8th Air Force, headquartered at Barksdale.
The command is fully engaged in long-range planning for the nuclear deterrence and global strike mission, now having in place a strategic master plan that aligns Global Strike Command with the larger Air Force strategic plan.
Global Strike Command assumed full responsibility for planning, programming and financial management activities on Friday and will be lead for both sustainment and modernization of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles operated out of F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., Minot AFB and Malmstrom AFB, Mont.; the B-52 Stratofortress nuclear-capable bombers at Barksdale and at Minot; and the B-2 Spirit nuclear-capable bombers at Whiteman AFB, Mo.; as well as UH-1N Huey helicopters.
The command has also established an inspector general function and has already conducted at least one major inspection at each of the command's six operational wings, the general said.
Additionally, the command formed a Crisis Action Team, as well as a Response Task Force to deal with emergency situations and potential incidents.
Other command missions include targeting analysis at the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron at Offutt AFB, Neb., and the ICBM test launch operations of the 576th Flight Test Squadron at Vandenberg AFB, Calif.