Military News

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Maj. Gen. Cotton takes command of 20th Air Force

by Lan Kim
90th Missile Wing Public Affairs


11/17/2015 - F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- Maj. Gen. Anthony J. Cotton took command of 20th Air Force and Task Force 214 during a ceremony here, Nov. 16, 2015.

Continuing the legacy and leadership put forth by his predecessor, Cotton will lead the men and women of the 20th AF and U.S. Strategic Command's TF 214. Twentieth Air Force is responsible for maintaining and operating the Air Force's three intercontinental ballistic missile wings and nuclear operations support wing at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico.

As a task force, these units provide the President of the United States with a quick-reacting and highly reliable strategic missile force. These forces are dispersed in hardened silos across the nation's central tier and are based at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming; Malmstrom AFB, Montana; and Minot AFB, North Dakota.

Prior to his current assignment, Cotton served as the National Reconnaissance Office deputy director. He began his military career as a missileer at Minot AFB's 91st Missile Wing, and later went on to serve in joint assignments and leadership positions within space operations. He also served as vice commander and commander of the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom AFB.

A formation of more than 150 Airmen witnessed the symbolic gesture of passing the command flag that recognizes the age-old military tradition signifying the continuity of command and authority to all those present -- the flag further represents the loyalty and trust of the Airmen in their commander.

"I am truly humbled by the opportunity to lead the Airmen charged with providing one-third of our nation's nuclear deterrent capability to U.S. Strategic Command," Cotton said.

Gen. Robin Rand, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command and presiding officer of the 20th Air Force change of command, praised the Airmen who comprise America's ICBM force.

"Twentieth Air Force has an amazing legacy and has enjoyed the leadership of renowned historical figures, now joined by Maj. Gen. Anthony Cotton," Rand said. "As part of the Global Strike family, General Cotton is taking the lead of an amazing group of Airmen charged with the tremendous responsibility of maintaining a vital leg of our nation's nuclear triad. These Airmen are innovative; they are hard-charging; and they are devoted to bringing our nuclear deterrence capabilities into the future as an unmatched, long-range strategic force. I know he will continue to uphold this amazing legacy and lead the Airmen of the 20th into an even greater future."

U.S. Navy Adm. Cecil Haney, U.S. Strategic Command commander and presiding officer for the TF 214 change of command, focused on the capability Cotton will provide to USSTRATCOM and the nation.

"Our nation is blessed to have Anthony Cotton take the helm of 20th Air Force and Task Force 214. He comes with an impressive resume, packed with extensive leadership and operational experience. Tony is known for being clear in expectations, fair in decisions and always giving accurate and calm feedback," Haney said.

"There should be no doubt as to the credibility and reliability of our nuclear triad, with our ICBMs being the most responsive leg," said Haney. "I am pleased to have Lt. Gen. Cotton leading the world's best ICBM force and I am positive that you will continue the momentum Jack Weinstein has set in motion."

Cotton thanked Haney and Rand with entrusting him with the confidence and leadership to take command of TF-214 and 20th AF.  As he viewed the formation he spoke to how proud and humbled he was to be part of the AFGSC family.

"Global strike and deterrence represents the core of America's defense posture since the end of World War II," said Cotton. "Our responsibilities to that continuing mission represent the greatest trust our nation can place in any of its citizens. I am humbled for the opportunity to help support that mission."

Cotton reiterated his priorities and galvanized his newly appointed command to stay true to the dedication necessary to keep a safe, secure, and effective nuclear force.

"I am very proud of my ICBM heritage and look forward to working with our Nation's finest" stated Cotton. "I'm glad to be home! Marsha and I also look forward to working with the incredible communities in Cheyenne, Albuquerque, Minot and Great Falls."

Weinstein took time to thank the Airmen of 20th AF and TF 214 for the commitment to excellence he had seen from them during his tenure, "The positive changes across the ICBM force over the past two years are proof-positive of our Airmen's dedication to the mission and their steadfast commitment to improve our combat capability."

Weinstein will be promoted to lieutenant general and serve as the Air Force's Assistant Chief of Staff for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration.

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