by Master Sgt. Gloria Wilson
90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
3/19/2015 - F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- The
U.S. nuclear deterrence mission is the Department of Defense's number
one priority and an essential part of its success is the continued
interest and emphasis from high-ranking officials, as demonstrated by
the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy's visit to
F.E. Warren Air Force Base, March 16.
Mr. Brian McKeon advises not only the Under Secretary of Defense for
Policy, but also the Secretary of Defense on matters pertaining to the
development and execution of U.S. national defense policy and strategy,
conducted the visit.
Interacting face-to-face with the Airmen who are part of the nuclear
deterrence mission and seeing the tasks being performed allows for a
greater understanding and reinforces the commitment to its betterment.
"Last year an internal and external review were released on the DoD
nuclear enterprise, with both coming to similar conclusions about
requirements for greater investments, such as sustainment funds, more
manning, more training, and reshaping how some of the regulations
worked," McKeon said. "One of the points emphasized was that there would
be a lot of follow-up and that it wouldn't be a report people looked at
and got excited about for a couple of months. Instead senior leaders
would continue to go out, see and touch the nuclear forces."
McKeon stated that although he has only been in his position since last
August, his visit to F.E. Warren is the third he has made to a nuclear
base, and he is looking at continuing that trend.
"Part of the follow-up is to ensure that recommendations from the
reviews are being implemented," he said. "We hope that in the back-end
out in the field, here at F.E. Warren and the other ICBM bases, people
are seeing the results of these changes."
While the reviews highlighted there was room for improvement, McKeon
said there was never any doubt that Airmen and sailors would get the job
done. The important lesson was that they were sometimes being asked to
do the impossible, but they were not being given adequate resources to
accomplish the tasks at hand.
"This trip, at its core, is about giving people the resources to do their job," he said.
During McKeon's visit, he had the opportunity to travel to the missile
field. While there, he spoke with missileers at a launch control center,
saw maintainers perform critical operations on a missile and learned
about the extensive procedures carried out by security forces for
protection of invaluable assets.
"Having leaders come out to meet our Airmen and see missile field
operations is a testament to the importance of our mission," said Master
Sgt. Robert Wilson, 90th Missile Security Forces Squadron, Flight 5
flight chief. "Sometimes, even with the best intentions, priorities can
shift and what seemed to be hot one day can become lukewarm the next.
However, the vigor in which improvements are being pursued for the
nuclear enterprise has not dwindled, as shown by Mr. McKeon's visit."
In addition to the vigor shown in following up to ensure progress, there
is also vigor in the performance of the mission--something that was
evident to the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.
"Today I saw Airmen performing great service to their country, and
sustaining the nuclear deterrent," McKeon said. "I think if any
American were to come to this base and watched what I saw today, they
would be proud of our Armed Forces and I feel they would be quite