AFGSC to kick off Striker Trident professional development program

  • Published
  • By Carla Pampe
  • Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs
Nuclear and missile operations officers within Air Force Global Strike Command have a new avenue of professional development available through the command's new Striker Trident program.

Striker Trident is an Air Force - Navy exchange program that supports professional development of company grade officers trained and qualified in similar nuclear deterrence missions, according to a memorandum of understanding between Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, the AFGSC commander, and Vice Adm. Michael J. Connor, the commander of Submarine Forces.

"The idea for an intercontinental ballistic missile/submarine-launched ballistic missile officer exchange program has been around for decades, but never came to fruition," said Brig. Gen. Michael Fortney, the AFGSC director of operations. "The recent ICBM Force Improvement Program highlighted the merits of such an exchange to Lt. Gen. Wilson and Maj. Gen. Weinstein, 20th Air Force commander, and they agreed. General Wilson then engaged his counterpart in the Navy, and six weeks later we were selecting candidates."

Competition for this new program was tough, and 13 candidates were submitted to the 13N development team, which ultimately selected the participants. The first 13Ns selected for the program are Capt. Patrick McAfee, 341st Missile Wing, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, and Capt. John Mayer, 20th Air Force, F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming.

"I am extremely excited for the opportunity to work with our sister service and learn the intricacies of a completely different strategic mission," McAfee said.

McAfee will serve three years with the commander of Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and Mayer will serve two years with the commander of Submarine Force Atlantic in Norfolk, Virginia, where they will be trained in the day-to-day management of the strategic submarine force.

"We want to give our 13Ns the opportunity to gain some valuable cross-service experience in preparation for future joint assignments," said Capt. Tracy Prey, the chief of ICBM Operations Command and Control Programs for AFGSC's operations directorate. "This program will be in line with other high-level professional development programs such as pathfinder, weapons school and Top Hand."

Prior to moving to their new assignments, Mayer and McAfee will receive additional professional development that will help with the transition to a naval assignment, including visits to U.S. Strategic Command, the Nuclear Weapons Center at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, and here to AFGSC headquarters for senior leader perspectives.

"This additional training will help bolster their nuclear enterprise credentials, and give them a good senior leader perspective on what is expected of them during the exchange program," Prey said.

Naval officers selected for the program, who will begin assignments next year, will serve at 20th Air Force headquarters and in the Operations Directorate at AFGSC headquarters.

Fortney said the Striker Trident program is a tremendous opportunity for young missile officers in both the Air Force and Navy communities.

"There will be many a senior ICBM officer who will be jealous that they were not given this opportunity," he said. "This promises to be an outstanding opportunity for our young missileers to experience firsthand how the Navy manages its nuclear forces, learn best practices, and roll those ideas back into the ICBM force. I'm sure the Navy will do the same. It's truly a win-win program all around."