by Carla Pampe
Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs
7/28/2015 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Gen.
Robin Rand took command of Air Force Global Strike Command during a
ceremony here July 28, becoming the newest leader of the organization
responsible for the nation's force of ICBMs and nuclear-capable bombers.
A command pilot with more than 5,000 hours, including 470 in combat,
Rand previously served as commander of Air Education and Training
Command. He succeeds Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson who had served as AFGSC's
commander since October 2013.
Presiding at the ceremony, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh
III said, "General Wilson and the Global Strike team have worked
tremendously hard to make significant, positive changes for the Airmen
who are charged with the deterrence mission. General Rand is the perfect
leader to connect with those Airmen and continue to drive improvements
for them and their families. They deserve nothing less."
Addressing an at-capacity crowd of Airmen, distinguished visitors,
commanders and senior Air Force leaders at Barksdale's historic Hoban
Hall, Rand said, "Today is a great day to be an American Airman and it's
a great day to be in Air Force Global Strike Command.
"The thousands of Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen who are doing
job No. 1 for our nation -- these Airmen keep the wolves at bay in
locations like Malmstrom, F.E. Warren, Minot, Whiteman, Barksdale, soon
to be Kirtland, Dyess and Ellsworth," he continued. "Bad people with bad
intentions don't mess with the United States because of these amazing
A seasoned leader and airpower tactician, Rand previously served as
commandant of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, commander of the 8th
Fighter Wing, 56th Fighter Wing and 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing; and
commander of 12th Air Force, in addition to commanding AETC. He pledged
to keep AFGSC focused on developing and providing combat-ready forces
for nuclear deterrence and global strike operations.
"My priorities are mission, Airmen and families," he said. "We must
deter and assure. In order to do that, the staff and I will laser focus
on making sure our wings receive the tools, the equipment and the
training necessary to execute our combat mission with great precision
and lethality. Likewise, Kim and I will place a high premium on our
families and their well-being. Trust me -- military families are
personal to me."
The general also reminded Airmen of the importance of maintaining the
Air Force core values, and of the rich heritage the command holds.
"Air Force Global Strike will focus on ensuring our Airmen have an
unyielding commitment to our core values of integrity, service and
excellence. And finally, we will ensure that our Airmen have a keen
awareness of our rich heritage and legacy that was forged in blood,
sweat and tears by countless Americans and Airmen before us who were
assigned to 8th Air Force and 20th Air Force," he said. "While history
makes us smarter, our heritage will make us prouder, and we will use
that heritage to help inspire our Airmen to great heights."
The Air Force elevated AFGSC to a four-star major command in order to
provide its global strike mission with the highest level of leadership
oversight similar to the service's other operational core missions.
"The appointment of a four-star sends a powerful message to our Airmen,
allies and any would-be enemy," said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah
Lee James. "It speaks to our commitment and promise to our Airmen and
Nation to ensure a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent and
global strike capability with the right level of leadership emphasis.
"In a complex global environment, having a four-star general responsible
for the world's most powerful weapons is critically important," James
added. "General Rand will continue to give voice to our Airmen and
continue to advance progress made in the nuclear enterprise."
Welsh stressed to AFGSC Airmen that the Air Force will continue to support the nuclear enterprise.
"Nuclear deterrence for America and her allies remains our number one
mission priority," he said. "A four-star at the helm of Air Force Global
Strike Command affirms that commitment."
Wilson led AFGSC through a number of important changes during his
tenure, including the Force Improvement Program, which instituted a
culture of empowerment of its Airmen.
In his farewell address, Wilson praised the Global Strike Airmen and civilians for their hard work and dedication.
"I'm extremely proud of what you've accomplished over the past few
years. You are our nation's deterrent and global strike force. You
provide safe, secure and effective deterrence, and should deterrence
ever fail, you are America's ability to swiftly and decisively strike
anywhere on the globe," he added. "Because of you, we are the greatest
Air Force on the planet. You are America's global power, and much like
the Chief says about airpower, without global strike, you do lose."
Wilson will become the deputy commander of U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.