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576th FLTS holds change of command

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Col. David Bliesner, the incoming 576th Flight Test Squadron commander, assumes command as he accepts the guidon flag from Brig. Gen. Timothy Ray, the Director of Operations, Headquarters Air Force Global Strike Command, during a change of command ceremony here Monday, Aug. 2, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Antoinette Gibson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Col. David Bliesner, the incoming 576th Flight Test Squadron commander, assumes command as he accepts the guidon flag from Brig. Gen. Timothy Ray, the Director of Operations, Headquarters Air Force Global Strike Command, during a change of command ceremony here Monday, Aug. 2, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Antoinette Gibson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Members of the 576th Flight Test Squadron honor their new commander, Col. David Bliesner, with a salute during the change of command ceremony here Monday, Aug. 2, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Antoinette Gibson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Members of the 576th Flight Test Squadron honor their new commander, Col. David Bliesner, with a salute during the change of command ceremony here Monday, Aug. 2, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Antoinette Gibson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Posting the colors, members of the Vandenberg Honor Guard present the flag during the 576th Flight Test Squadron change of command ceremony honoring the incoming commander, Col. David Bliesner, here Monday, Aug. 2, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Antoinette Gibson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Posting the colors, members of the Vandenberg Honor Guard present the flag during the 576th Flight Test Squadron change of command ceremony honoring the incoming commander, Col. David Bliesner, here Monday, Aug. 2, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Antoinette Gibson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Posting the colors, members of the Vandenberg Honor Guard present the flag during the 576th Flight Test Squadron change of command ceremony honoring the incoming commander, Col. David Bliesner, here Monday, Aug. 2, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Antoinette Gibson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Posting the colors, members of the Vandenberg Honor Guard present the flag during the 576th Flight Test Squadron change of command ceremony honoring the incoming commander, Col. David Bliesner, here Monday, Aug. 2, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Antoinette Gibson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Col. David Bliesner assumed command of Air Force Global Strike Command's 576th Flight Test Squadron, the only U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile test launch squadron, during a change of command ceremony here Aug. 2.

"I am exceptionally proud to be the newest member of the 576th Flight Test Squadron," said Colonel Bliesner.

Colonel Bliesner's leadership skills and superior technical and weaponssystems expertise made him ideal for the position, said Brig. Gen. TimothyRay, AFGSC director of operations, who presided over the ceremony. Colonel Bliesner took over as Col. Carl DeKemper retired from the Air Force.

Addressing the squadron, Colonel Bliesner stressed the importance of the 576th FLTS's mission and its contributions to deterring potential adversaries and assuring allies of the United States resolve and capability.

"Strategic deterrence depends on potential adversaries' perception of U.S. capability to employ ICBMs if national interests are threatened," Colonel Bliesner said. "A significant portion of the responsibility for demonstrating our nation's capability rests with this squadron."

In support of the 'deter and assure' mission, the 576th FLTS determines the effectiveness and accuracy of the ICBM force by planning, preparing and conducting ICBM ground and flight tests. The test launches provide performance data and demonstrate the capability of the ICBM force. The information is shared with the Department of Energy, Department of Defense, U.S. Strategic Command, Headquarters Air Force and Air Force Global Strike Command.

Both pride and understanding of mission importance are foundational to a culture of compliance with the highest standards of exceptional performance, said Colonel Bliesner.

Colonel Bliesner said the AFGSC unit's pride was evident and that he looked forward to leading the organization.

The next test launch is scheduled for Sept. 15.

Prior to assuming command of the 576th FLTS, Colonel Bliesner served as the AFGSC Chief of the Plans, Policy, and Integration Division.