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Deputy Secretary of Defense visits Vandenberg

Robert O. Work, Deputy Secretary of Defense, Gen. Paul J. Selva, Joint Chiefs of Staff vice chairman and Adm. Cecil D. Haney, U.S. Strategic Command commander, field questions from media members during a press conference, Feb. 25, 2016, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. During Work’s visit to Vandenberg, he toured the 576th Flight Test Squadron’s launch support center to learn more about the intercontinental ballistic missile test mission before seeing a Minuteman III ICBM test launch. He also met with members of the 91st Missile Wing who helped execute the test launch and held a press conference to address his views on leadership, nuclear deterrence and space capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robert J. Volio/Released)

Robert O. Work, Deputy Secretary of Defense, Gen. Paul J. Selva, Joint Chiefs of Staff vice chairman and Adm. Cecil D. Haney, U.S. Strategic Command commander, field questions from media members during a press conference, Feb. 25, 2016, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. During Work’s visit to Vandenberg, he toured the 576th Flight Test Squadron’s launch support center to learn more about the intercontinental ballistic missile test mission before seeing a Minuteman III ICBM test launch. He also met with members of the 91st Missile Wing who helped execute the test launch and held a press conference to address his views on leadership, nuclear deterrence and space capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robert J. Volio/Released)

Col. J. Christopher Moss, 30th Space Wing commander and Maj. Gen. Michael E. Fortney, Air Force Global Strike Command vice commander, greet Robert O. Work, Deputy Secretary of Defense, and his wife Cassandra upon their arrival, Feb. 25, 2016, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. During Work’s visit to Vandenberg, he toured the 576th Flight Test Squadron’s launch support center to learn more about the intercontinental ballistic missile test mission before seeing a Minuteman III ICBM test launch. He also met with members of the 91st Missile Wing who helped execute the test launch and held a press conference to address his views on leadership, nuclear deterrence and space capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robert J. Volio/Released)

Col. J. Christopher Moss, 30th Space Wing commander and Maj. Gen. Michael E. Fortney, Air Force Global Strike Command vice commander, greet Robert O. Work, Deputy Secretary of Defense, and his wife Cassandra upon their arrival, Feb. 25, 2016, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. During Work’s visit to Vandenberg, he toured the 576th Flight Test Squadron’s launch support center to learn more about the intercontinental ballistic missile test mission before seeing a Minuteman III ICBM test launch. He also met with members of the 91st Missile Wing who helped execute the test launch and held a press conference to address his views on leadership, nuclear deterrence and space capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robert J. Volio/Released)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Robert O. Work, Deputy Secretary of Defense, recently visited VAFB to tour base facilities and meet with base personnel, Feb. 25.

As part of Work's second visit to Vandenberg, he toured the 576th Flight Test Squadron's launch support center to learn more about the intercontinental ballistic missile test mission before seeing a Minuteman III ICBM test launch. He also met with members of the 91st Missile Wing who helped execute the test launch and held a press conference to address his views on leadership, nuclear deterrence and space capabilities.

"It's clearly evident to me that Secretary Work gets it," said Col. Craig Ramsey, 576th FLTS commander. "Based on my interaction with him on other nuclear matters and everything about his visit to Vandenberg, I know he understands and appreciates the mission, as well and the men and women who make it happen. He was very complimentary of the entire event, from the facilities to the professionalism of the Airmen to the actual test execution. I couldn't have been more proud of my squadron, the 91st MW Task Force, and Team Vandenberg."

During his press conference, Secretary Work spoke on the ICBM mission and emphasized its connection to nuclear deterrence.

"These missiles, even though they're old, still remain one of the most effective missiles in the world," said Work. "They are reliable, accurate, safe and effective. Anyone who is a nuclear power is sure to be watching these tests and has to be at least aware that the U.S. nuclear deterrent is as strong as it's ever been. The men and women who work this enterprise ensure these missiles are just as effective today as they were 20 years ago."

Following his press conference, Work, along with Gen. Paul J. Selva, Joint Chiefs of Staff vice chairman and Adm. Cecil D. Haney, U.S. Strategic Command commander, relocated to a launch site to witness the MMIII test launch that went off without a hitch.

"It was our honor to host Secretary Work," said Ramsey. "It shows their commitment to these nuclear Airmen, and to this ever-critical strategic mission. As a result, they witnessed a perfect countdown to an on-time test launch during absolutely perfect weather conditions."

Work attributed the success of the mission not to technology -- but to the men and women behind it.

"We talk a lot about the MMIII, the B-2 stealth bomber, conventional guided munitions and all of these things, but it always comes back to the men and women who serve in our nation," said Work. "This is an unbelievably capable force, and it is because of our people. The 576th FLTS is an indicator of just how good our people are and how much we rely upon them. Underneath all of this talk about strategic nuclear deterrence, there's a bunch of men and women who are sitting in silos, who are on submarines, who are flying bombers, who are doing the maintenance or taking care of the weapons. Without that we would not have a strategic nuclear deterrent. So please don't let a focus on technology or weapons detract away from just how great our people really are."