Military News

Friday, March 20, 2015

DoD official visits Warren: Commitment to the nuclear enterprise strong as ever

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 impressed."

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