Update on Global Strike Command|
9/29/2011 - NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (AFNS) -- Remarks from Lt. Gen. James Kowalski concerning the state of Global Strike Command during the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition, National Harbor at Oxon Hill, Md., Sept. 21, 2011.
Below is the transcript:
I had sort of hoped that after you heard the Secretary yesterday talk about the importance of the Triad everybody would be happy and there would be nobody here. [Laughter]. But then I guess the flip side of that is I heard the applause and I thought well, on the other hand, there could be a lot of people interested in this.
As I look out across the crowd, I see people I have worked for over the last 25 years or so, and I know that in the finest traditions of Strategic Air Command I will be sure to get instant and full feedback on this speech if I am off on any of my points. [Laughter].
So thanks for the kind introduction. Thanks for inviting me to share some thoughts on Air Force Global Strike Command. It is an honor to address this audience. But I'm going to take advantage of this podium to talk about the importance to our nation of the nuclear deterrence and global strike missions, and then touch on the challenge of sustaining excellence in these missions into the future.
Let's talk about nuclear deterrence first. I don't want you to think about General LeMay...at least not yet. Think back to DESERT STORM. Our military came out of that conflict excited about the operational success and potential of several technologies--stealth, precision, information technology--especially the synergy of bringing these together to increase the combat power of our conventional forces in all domains. And nearly simultaneous with the discussion about a "Revolution in Military Affairs," President Bush took the bombers and 450 of our ICBMs off of nuclear alert...by December of that year, it was official--the Soviet Union was dissolved. We found ourselves the last superpower standing, de facto leaders of a uni-polar world where capitalist democracy seemed inevitably ascendant. Our nation, relieved to have the specter of nuclear war recede, became increasingly ambivalent about nuclear weapons, and we began to dramatically downsize our strategic forces--in part to provide a deserved "peace dividend," but also to free up resources needed to achieve the promise of the Revolution of Military Affairs. In that atmosphere, the number of democratic nations in the world increased by half, and one popular non-fiction book was titled "The End of History." The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, keepers of the doomsday clock, reset the minute hand from six minutes until midnight to 17 minutes until midnight, and the storied Strategic Air Command was folded into Tactical Air Command, and the United States Air Force replaced strict regulations with less rigid instructions.
And about this time a new phrase crept into our military lexicon. When you wanted to dismiss an idea, all you had to say was "that's Cold War thinking." And that phrase became shorthand for clichéd images of Dr. Strangelove, outdated strategies and rigidity, especially as we distanced ourselves from a checklist mentality that seemed contrary to the new flexibility needed for the revolution in military affairs.
What should have bothered us then is that Cold War thinking had brought us this world-changing victory. Over time we talked less about the continued need for nuclear deterrence, we didn't remind our Airmen that their work was still valued, and at all levels, our attention to the high standards for our nuclear arsenal waned.
As the years passed, we slowly lost the officers and NCOs who had been steeped in the traditions of nuclear discipline. The underlying problems that led the Air Force to establish Global Strike Command--underinvestment, fragmented authorities, lack of compliance processes, lack of critical self-assessment, shortage of nuclear expertise,--can be traced to the diminished importance of the nuclear mission across the Department of Defense, and to an Air Force organizational construct where nuclear deterrence was just another mission area. It is not. Stewardship of the most powerful weapons in our arsenal is a special trust and responsibility. Nuclear operations require the highest standards of execution and compliance...standards that demand discipline and professionalism at all levels. We must pay as much attention to nuclear surety and security as we do operational credibility. For most things we give our Airmen mission-type orders--we tell them what we want done and we allow them to use their initiative to get that job done. But in nuclear operations we are equally specific on the "HOW" of a task. We insist on absolute compliance with technical orders, robust personnel reliability programs, strict security measures, tough inventory controls, and demanding component certifications. This mission is different. Now, we cannot reverse almost 20 years of erosion in this mission area with just more inspections, more money, more attentive headquarters. It also requires a cultural change at all levels in Global Strike Command and outside the command.
I can report to you that our Airmen ARE embracing the special trust and responsibility of nuclear deterrence and they know that this mission is important. But to achieve lasting cultural change among the 24,000 people in this command, they have to know that the Air Force believes their mission is important.
Our institutional Air Force must continue to recognize nuclear deterrence as a core competency. The highest standards of safety, security and effectiveness require a broad corporate Air Force commitment reflected in education, training, personnel processes, and funding. Our Secretary and Chief, as you have heard the past two days, have been unwavering in their commitment and we have seen positive gains on all these fronts. Some examples include an increase in Air Force officers enrolled in the Air Force Institute of Technology, graduate nuclear engineering, and physics programs, six Air Force National Lab Technical Fellowships, and we've added two new advanced nuclear courses at the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center. We're also developing Wyoming's Camp Guernsey into the premier Nuclear Security Tactics Center of Excellence; we're moving to having our helicopters on 24/7 alert; and we've identified 1,500 Key Nuclear Billets, created 43 nuclear Special Experience Identifiers, and established and listed developmental teams for core career fields.
Achieving lasting cultural change is about behavior over time. Our Airmen at all ranks must understand "WHY" the nuclear mission is important and "HOW" it contributes to national security. Now the "WHY" is straightforward--nuclear deterrence provides the foundational credibility for our conventional capabilities and gives national leadership a full range of options when dealing with a crisis. Day-to-day, our nuclear forces provide for strategic stability with the largest nuclear powers, Russia and China, through force structure parity and by providing a framework for continued dialogue, mil-to-mil engagements, and transparency between nations.
Our nuclear forces are also one dimension of our security structure for deterring regional threats, increasingly important in a changing and uncertain global security environment populated with both nuclear threats and proliferators of nuclear and missile technologies.
As we consider the value of deterrence against potential adversaries, I'd like to share a quote by Secretary of State Dean Rusk who said, "Don't expose them to intolerable temptation through our own weakness."
Our nuclear forces also extend deterrence to our friends and allies. This serves our nation's non-proliferation goals by showing that our allies' security interests can be protected without having their own nuclear arsenals. But extended deterrence is fragile--both our capability and our will have to be unimpeachable.
Let me turn now to our conventional Global Strike mission. While we continue to strengthen the nuclear enterprise, we cannot let our conventional skills erode.
Virtually from the birth of our republic we had to project power at long range to protect our interests and to deter or defeat adversaries. In 1801, we deployed our Navy and Marine Corps to fight 5,000 miles away in the Barbary Wars off Tripoli. As a young nation we rarely sought to employ forces at long range, but our development into a great power by the late nineteenth century led to more confident engagements across the globe. The advent of air power provided a new dimension to power projection allowing us to overfly terrestrial defenses to strike an enemy at the time and place of our choosing. Air power's role in U.S. power projection continued to grow through World War II and the Cold War.
Today we remain a nation with extensive global alliances, commitments and engagements. It has been both our good fortune and a complex operational problem that our interests and allies under the greatest threat are those farthest from our shores. Our commitment to deter, dissuade, assure, and if needed--fight and win--means our nation must have the forces to respond quickly to a crisis, with the freedom of action to strike the targets of our choosing.
Since DESERT STORM, our bomber forces are exponentially more capable as a result of the advances we've made in stealth, precision and the application of information technologies. We've gone from B-52s launching conventional air launched cruise missiles and dropping unguided bombs in DESERT STORM to bombers with precision munitions executing strikes in every major military operation since Operation ALLIED FORCE. Most recently B-1s and B-2s executed the first global strike combat action for both U.S. Strategic Command and Air Force Global Strike Command. On the first night of Operation ODYSSEY DAWN, March 19th, B-2 bombers took off from Whiteman Air Force Base in Knob Noster, Missouri and destroyed 45 hardened aircraft shelters in Libya, and returned to Missouri. Within a few days our headquarters staff, the 608th Air Operation Center and the 617th Air Operation Center supported AFRICOM to execute another notable Global Strike mission when Air Combat Command B-1s, each carrying 24 two-thousand pound GPS-guided bombs, struck ammo storage sites in Libya. After landing at a deployed location they were refueled, rearmed, and then struck targets on their way back to South Dakota. Even more remarkable, as noted in an article in July's Air Force Magazine, the 28th Bomb Wing fixed, fueled, armed and launched those B-1s in the middle of a major snow storm with visibility below peacetime minimums.
What should be most instructive to potential adversaries and reassuring to allies, is not just that the U.S. has the ability to project significant global combat power, but that we can sustain a campaign of such strikes. There may be other nations capable of conducting long-range bomber strikes, but no other nation can persist in such a campaign at global distances against practically any target. No other nation can deny safe haven to adversaries on this scale.
This is about much more than just having a capable bomber force. This is about the art and magic of integrating and applying global, naval, space, and cyber capabilities, air refueling, ISR, command and control, electronic warfare, and long-range strike in a manner that breaches defenses and overwhelms adversary planning and decision cycles. This IS rapid, flexible and precise power projection, fundamental to strategic deterrence--or should deterrence fail, fighting and winning.
While power projection remains a unique American requirement, it is NOT a birthright. Other nations recognize power projection as both fundamental to protecting U.S. interests and also our asymmetric advantage, and some are choosing to aggressively pursue anti-access and area denial systems.
To remain confident in our ability to execute nuclear deterrence and Global Strike missions now and into the future, Air Force Global Strike Command faces three tasks. The first is to sustain and enhance the current force while modernizing for the future.
The Air Force has been balancing current needs against future requirements since 1947. From post-World War II to post-Vietnam to post DESERT STORM we have worked to get the right balance and we've developed institutional processes to bring requirements and risk in the planning and programming decision-making. But the reality of the current fiscal environment will make this the most demanding of our military planning processes. Unlike previous reductions, the Air Force is not stepping away from any missions. In fact, our mission set and security challenges continue to grow. Leadership will have to be more engaged and more thoughtful in devising and linking CONOPS, force structures, plans and programs. We have to accept that we can't afford to reduce risk across every conceivable military planning scenario. As we determine requirements we have to apply standards of consequence and likelihood to ensure military advice both explains risk and accepts it.
In our operations we need to encourage our Airmen to think in terms of "always better" where continuous improvements and productivity become a way of life. And more importantly, we need to educate our mid-level leadership to not only think in terms of "always better," but to also "always listen" to the ideas that their subordinates bring forward.
A second task we face is to successfully advocate for retaining the nuclear Triad. As we implement New START and reduce the number of deployed warheads, the importance of the Triad increases. As my friend and our 20th Air Force Commander Major General Don Alston put it, "When you get smaller, this gets harder." With fewer weapons on fewer delivery vehicles, the risk of technical problems or operational vulnerabilities may place an unsustainable burden on the remaining force. For example, what if we discover a problem with a specific missile, delivery vehicle or warhead when that element makes up half or more of our deterrent force? Combine that with the possibility of geo-political surprise, and the risk of a monad or dyad becomes unacceptable. Our triad is not redundant--it is complementary; it provides options and flexibilities against an uncertain future, complicates adversary offensive and defensive plans, and provides national leadership options to control escalation in a crisis.
Our submarines are the most survivable leg. Our ICBMs, the most responsive and cost-effective alert force, with the strongest command and control, they are both disbursed and hardened, vulnerable only to direct nuclear attack. Our bombers are a full-spectrum force, effective across a range of conventional missions. They are the most flexible with multiple load-out, deployment, or disbursal options, and under the New START counting rules, bombers provide a hedge against that very technical or geo-political surprise. They are also the most visible force, giving national leaders options to demonstrate resolve and assure allies. Most notably the Air Force's share of the Triad is a relative bargain at less than one percent of the DoD budget.
Our third task is coping with aging weapon systems. Our major weapon systems are, on average, over 40 years old, and the problem of corrosion, declining industrial base, vanishing vendors, overseas components, and rising depot costs complicates the larger challenge of balancing sustainment with modernization.
Minuteman III came on line in 1970 with an expected life span of 10 years. While our units continue to achieve an alert rate of over 99 percent, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, we will have to be innovative to keep this system in service until 2030. We've been successful with a number of sustainment programs to include replacing the boosters, upgrading environmental controls, modernizing security and support equipment, and procuring new special purpose vehicles such as the Payload Transporter. In coordination with Air Force Materiel Command, we have a solid road map to get the ICBM to 2030.
Another weapon system that will require innovative thinking is our B-52. This is now the Air Force's oldest combat fleet. The first flight of the B-52 was in 1952--next year will mark the 60th anniversary of the bomber. A few weeks ago Minot Air Force Base held an event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first delivery of an operational B-52 to the base. One of the speakers at that ceremony was Lieutenant Daniel Welch. He's a bomber pilot whose father, Don Welch, had flown B-52s. That sons are flying the same aircraft as their father is not exceptional in today's Air Force, but in this case, the Lieutenant's grandfather, Colonel Don Sprague, had also flown B-52s. And he'd flown them at Minot, and Colonel Sprague had commanded the same squadron that his grandson was now in, the 23rd Bomb Squadron. Now don't take the wrong message from this story. Yes, the B-52 is old, but that shows what a strong and versatile design it is, and how well our depot supply systems and Airmen are able to sustain and maintain our aircraft. While much of the BUFF remains unchanged from when it first came off the assembly line, the current B-52H now delivers the widest variety of stand-off direct attack, nuclear and conventional weapons in the Air Force to engage across a range of missions to include countersea, close air support, offensive counterair, and strategic attack. We continue to invest in enhancements such as the Combat Networks Communications Technology program, giving the B-52 a digital backbone and supporting full integration into the forward battle space.
Now one of our youngest combat aircraft, at about 17 years, is the B-2. This small fleet is our nation's only stealthy, long-range penetrating strike platform capable of delivering nuclear and conventional payloads. We've made significant progress with the B-2 Radar Modernization Program in the past year. We've also completed integration of the 30,000 pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator giving the warfighter increased capability against hardened and deeply buried targets. To ensure the B-2 can continue to hold targets at risk in denied air space, we are upgrading the Defensive Management System both near term and long term.
Now while we continue to sustain and enhance our current weapon systems, we must pursue a modern force. The heart of our modernization is the family of long range strike systems--a new penetrating bomber, a new stand-off nuclear cruise missile, a conventional prompt global strike system, and the ground-based strategic deterrent missile to replace the Minuteman III. But new weapon systems aren't enough. We must also pursue modernization of our nuclear command and control and help advocate for revitalization of the nuclear infrastructure within the Department of Energy.
In conclusion, we cannot again let ambivalence about our arsenal lead to atrophy. Our Secretary and Chief have led the way in keeping the focus on strengthening the nuclear enterprise. Under Secretary Conaton highlighted this last year when she said, "because we live in a world where nuclear weapons exist and we face enemies that seek to do us great harm, our missileers stand constant alert; our bombers remain prepared to generate; our nuclear security forces continually patrol; and our maintainers and force support personnel ensure our weapon systems and operators are always at the ready."
Our nation needs us to answer the call to be strong advocates for nuclear deterrence and global strike, specifically championing the enduring value of the Triad and now the long-range strike family of systems and follow on with the Minuteman III provide strategic deterrence in the 21st Century. For only by creating a future where America can deter and assure, where no adversary can find safe haven, can we meet the charge from President Obama in his Prague speech. He said, "As long as these weapons exist, the United States must maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary and guarantee that defense to our allies."
Once again, many thanks for inviting me to be with you here today. It's been a privilege to represent the men and women of Air Force Global Strike Command.
Now, unfortunately, we have time for questions.
Question: General Kowalski, you briefly mentioned nuclear command and control. Can you elaborate a little bit on the issues that you're facing and what you see as some of the solutions. [Inaudible] ICBM force [inaudible].
Lt. Gen. Kowalski: The largest problem that I see with nuclear command and control right now is less specific to any particular weapon system, as it is just a management problem of who's the architect. Who's in charge? And that's a problem that we have had for a number of years in my opinion. OSD, NII had that task. With the reorganization of NII and the reorganization of the joint staff J6, I think we're still trying to find out who that architect is. Within Global Strike Command, we are the Air Force's lead major command for 14 NC3 programs. We are advocating to be that architect for the Air Force, but the system is a multi-service--a joint system--that touches a lot of platforms. It touches how the Air Force has reorganized with the core function master plans in terms of program. It touches a lot of SPACECOM's responsibilities. So right now it still becomes a committee that ends up trying to pull together and reach consensus on the way ahead. And it will be particularly challenging for us as we go into a more restrained fiscal environment, where it will be easier within specific stovepipes to maybe shave some money out of communication systems that support NC3.
So, we are managing it, we are developing architectures for it, and we're working for it, and we're keeping it on our radar and that's why it was specifically in my speech.
What else do we have?
Question: General Kowalski, can you describe a sketch of your vision of the next bomber?
Lt. Gen. Kowalski: Clearly it's stealthy, it's penetrating. I really am not going to elaborate pretty much from beyond what's already been released about it--at the end of the day it retains our ability to access denied air space well into the future. We see it coming on-line in about 2025 and expect between 80 and 100 of these bombers. I'd prefer if everybody used the number 100 instead of the word 80 because oftentimes the lower becomes the ceiling so I try to usually just use the word 100. [Laughter].
Question: Sir, [inaudible] something. How would you articulate the risk [inaudible] of deterrence and missile defense?
Lt. Gen. Kowalski: That's a little bit out of my lane in terms of the roles of deterrence and missile defense but from my perspective missile defense is complementary to the nuclear force element of deterrence. A few years ago we had come up with what we call the new Triad which brought missile defense and conventional warfighting capability and infrastructure into that Triad mix to try to recognize all the elements that support a broader deterrence. I think our missile defense clearly is effective more against the regional adversaries. It is not designed against the major nuclear powers.
Question: General, given that we haven't conducted a full-up field test in almost 20 years, are you concerned about the reliability of the warheads? And related, do you think people we are trying to deter are beginning to question the reliability of the warheads?
Lt. Gen. Kowalski: Now when you say a full-up field test, you mean a nuclear test?
Question: Yes, sir.
Lt. Gen. Kowalski: I think the answer to that is no. And I don't say that because I have a degree in nuclear physics, I say that because I've talked to people who have degrees in nuclear physics and I've been to Sandia, I've been to Los Alamos, and I plied them with beer and I asked them that question. I said are you really -- [laughter] -- and to a scientist they preferred red wine -- [laughter] -- but to the scientist they were all confident, and in fact we just had a question from the French attaché there, the French have completely developed their newest weapon--developed completely without testing. And the folks that I spoke to at our laboratories are confident that they too can develop without nuclear testing. So I'm going to rely on the experts for that one.
Question: Thanks General. In terms of conventional long range deterrence, do you think there's a growing [power play] for regionally geographically significant areas, and I'll pick Australia for one. In that growing need to reduce budget that there's a [inaudible] in providing that deterrence?
Lt. Gen. Kowalski: In providing--I think there is in providing that larger strategic deterrence, especially as applied to regional threats because clearly we're not trying to solely deter regional threats with just our nuclear forces, but nuclear forces are an element of that larger deterrent. And I think what we've seen in the last 20 years is the effectiveness of working with allies in terms of how we proceed along a region. And how we not only deter, but assure others in there.
Question: Sir, one of the advantages of being a commander is the opportunity to shape the culture of an organization. As the commander of the Air Force's youngest major air command, can you share your thoughts on how you're shaping the culture of Air Force Global Strike?
Lt. Gen. Kowalski: It's a couple of things and frankly I think it is different in the ICBM force than it is in the bombers. The ICBM force day-to-day, the Wall came down, a few years later the Soviet Union dissolved. Those young men and women on alert and those folks going out and doing the maintenance out there and driving the payload transporters and the transport erectors, their routine never changed. They stayed on alert. The structures above them changed. How much attention and love they got from the rest of the Air Force changed. But what they did fundamentally didn't change.
So one of the biggest challenges we had in the culture on the ICBM force in both operations and maintenance and even the security forces was convincing them that we cared. That when Global Strike Command stood up that my charge to the headquarters, I was the vice commander and functionally in charge of giving the headquarters their marching orders, their only measure of merit was how well the wings did. So we had a headquarters that was very focused on helping the wings. The problem was the wings had for so long not really had their problems responded to, so as a result it took us a while to dig out some of the issues that were going on at the wings. And we had a problem with handsets and some of the capsules. And we found out that they were using alternate communication means because the handsets weren't fixed. Well, it took us six months to find out they had a handset problem because they had just been there for so long that nobody talked about it.
The other thing was configuration control out there, trying to get all of the wings and all those squadrons back to a standard. They sort of migrated away from that a little bit.
So our challenges in the ICBM force were a little bit different from the bomber force. The bomber force, as I alluded to, really took on the conventional mission and that was huge, and that was a huge success to bring stealth and precision and information technology, connect and network. I mean look at what B-1s are doing in the theater right now. It's phenomenal. You got pods on the airplane, you got 2,000-pound and 500-pound GPS-guided munitions. They can be laser-guided munitions. They're tied into the network. It's an incredible achievement.
Now what we have to do with our B-52 force and B-2 force is, I think we've got the pendulum back where they're refocused now on the discipline required in the nuclear mission set. Now we've got to get that balance between the nuclear and conventional on the bomber side. And frankly, that's something that Strategic Air Command struggled with. It's something that Air Combat Command struggled with, and I was part of that leadership when we were trying to find the right balance there, and it's something that we'll work too.
But we've got a smaller span of control. I think we're a little bit closer to the operations and I think we've already gotten some great successes. And from what I'm hearing from our inspector teams, what I'm hearing from our nuke surety staff assistance teams, and what I'm hearing from our wing commanders right now is very encouraging. And I'm about to go on another round of my own visits. But I'm pretty happy with where we're going with the culture. But as I said in the speech, culture is behavior over time and we have to build this system up so it's self sustaining.
Question: General Schwartz said he was very clear that he mustn't top slice who [inaudible] capabilities and end up with a hollow force, and you already [inaudible] maintenance [inaudible] for the nuclear Triad. Where does that leave you [inaudible] wiggle space?
Lt. Gen. Kowalski: That's my job is to come here and advocate for this part of it. It leaves us having our discussions and evaluating our risks within the Air Force corporate structure. And that's one of the things that I've tried to point out in my speech is that that process, that corporate process, and you go from strategy to CONOPS to force structure, you understand your requirements and then you're doing the programming. That has to be paid close attention to by senior leaders.
And I think in the past, that process often ran by its own at the O-6 and one-star level because there wasn't enough money to correct any errors that were made. At this point, we don't have the money to correct the errors and what we really have to focus on is clearly understanding what risk we're willing to accept and explaining that risk through our political leadership. And that's going to be difficult, but what it means is leaders like me have to acknowledge the risk, we have to prioritize, and we have to be willing to accept the risk that's out there and take what steps we can to mitigate that risk as we go forward.
Question: Sir, can I ask you this, having [inaudible] inspections is always a big part of the nuclear enterprise and in the relationship between Global Strike Command and Strategic Command, does Strategic Command participate with your inspection teams or are you briefed, the COCOM commander on the results, or how does that work? I think you see where I'm going.
Lt. Gen. Kowalski: Yes, sir. It's sort of two-fold. Strategic Command will send along observers to watch the inspection sort of as an oversight to look at our processes, similar to what the Air Force Inspection Agency does, and similar to what the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, DTRA, does with their teams. So sometimes we end up with quite a crowd showing at a remote location to do an inspection.
There was a writeup about six months ago about, they had, I don't know, 28 people sitting around watching four people do a task because you had the entire team and then the oversight people and then the other inspectors, but what it does is -- [laughter] -- but what it does is it gives the other institutions, the other stakeholders confidence in our processes and it keeps us on our toes in terms of hiring the right personnel in to be our Inspector General and our Team Chiefs and then to be the core competency in there.
In terms of the out-briefs, to General Kehler, we report to him. I report up both chains to the Chief of Staff and to General Kehler the results of an inspection and I'm always ready and prepared to come in and brief them in more detail if it's required.
Question: [Inaudible] Cold War [inaudible] became [inaudible] Cold War, and it led to improvement of [inaudible]. Can you comment, you talked about whether it's a new weapon system, a modernization of weapon systems, people that you have to deal with, do they understand the value of deterrence or [inaudible]?
Lt. Gen. Kowalski: Right. It's a continuing education process across the department, I think is the best way to put it. We touched the stove and burned our hand, is one way to phrase it, in 2007 when we had the unauthorized transfer. But the Air Force was the finger that actually was on the burner. The other services, the Joint Staff and OSD were a little bit farther away from the heat. But all of this, and if you read the SLIT and the second Schlesinger report, it's very critical of the rest of the department in terms of how the entire department had relaxed in this mission set. And I'm not sure that everybody has gotten that message yet, and that is why I gave the speech today that I gave, was that this is a long term change for our Air Force and it's got to be across the entire force, and then it needs to be a long term change across the Department of Defense to recognize this. And I see it in the senior leaders and I see it just below them.
As you get deeper in the organizations, and people get farther from this mission set, they may not have gotten that message quite yet. But I think eventually we will. That's why we're trying to attack this with the different things that we're doing in education. We're doing things out at Air University. We established a couple of years ago a nuclear chair out at Air University. We have General Shaw out at Air University who I know is an active advocate for this mission set.
And that's the important piece. It's not as if we say hey, nuclear deterrence is uber alle, the single most important mission set, but it's part of what the Air Force does, it's one of our core competencies, and we just need to keep our eye on this ball. Thanks for your question sir.
Do I have any other questions?
Okay, well I ended that the two toughest ones from General Alder and General Shaw. Thank you all.