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CSAF signs munitions realignment program action directive

WASHINGTON -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz signed the Program Action Directive Nov. 20 that details the transfer of munitions squadrons responsible for nuclear mission support from Air Force Materiel Command to Air Force Global Strike Command.

The realignment has formally begun and will complete this December. The realignment of functions will place the command, control and authority for the operational mission with the wing commander.

This is another step in continuing to strengthen the nuclear enterprise. Under a previous move, these munitions squadrons were consolidated under AFMC's Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center.

With Air Force Global Strike Command now fully mission capable, the time is right for a final realignment under the command that also has responsibility for daily nuclear deterrence operations, Schwartz said.

"The munitions squadrons were placed under Air Force Materiel Command at the outset of our effort to reinvigorate the nuclear enterprise," Schwartz said. "AFMC and its leaders have done an outstanding job restoring excellence in munitions operations, and they, along with the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, will remain a key part of the nuclear munitions sustainment and integration process."

The realignment will allow for enhanced unity of command under a single major command responsible for most of the nuclear operational mission, he said. This will continue focused oversight and standardization of nuclear weapons, cruise missiles, and re-entry vehicles/systems maintenance, storage, accountability, handling and control.

"Most important, by doing this we are continuing to strengthen the nuclear enterprise while seeking constant improvement and doing things the best way possible for safe, secure and effective operations," Schwartz said.

Squadrons will realign in place as well as remain about the same size organizationally, so disruptions to operations and people at the units will be minimal.

"Almost two years after being established, Air Force Global Strike Command is now a mature organization capable of integrating the munitions function into the larger nuclear mission," Schwartz said.

Affected organizations are: the 798th Munitions Maintenance Group at Minot Air Force Base, N.D.; 498th Munitions Maintenance Group at Whiteman AFB, Mo.; 15th Munitions Squadron at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo.; 16th Munitions Squadron at Malmstrom AFB, Mont.; 17th Munitions Squadron at Minot AFB; 19th Munitions Squadron at Whiteman AFB; 498th Nuclear Systems Wing at Kirtland AFB, N.M.; and 798th Munitions Maintenance Group, Detachment 1, at Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

During the next several months, officials at the Air Force's Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration Directorate, as the Air Staff nuclear mission integrator, will lead the internal implementation process, including specifics regarding final manpower and unit realignments.