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AFGSC kicks off fourth Global Strike Challenge

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. (AFNS) -- The fourth Air Force Global Strike Command Technology and Innovation Symposium kicked off Nov. 4, here.

The symposium is part of the culmination of the Global Strike Challenge, a competitive event where the top security forces, maintainers, and missile and bomber crews are recognized as the "best of the best" in their specialties. Competition events took place August through October at the team's home bases.

Crews from the command’s six wings, as well as competitors from the Air Force Reserve and Air Combat Command, arrived in the Bossier City area for the symposium, official score posting, and awards ceremony at Barksdale AFB.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, the commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, opened the symposium and stressed the importance of the strategic deterrence mission.

"We are a big piece of our nation's strategic deterrence -- that foundation, that bedrock from which our nation gets its security," he said. "We've assembled some of the best and brightest from around the country … Ask (them) challenging questions, think about what they say and internalize it. Think about how we can make ourselves better."

Retired Gen. Jack Chain, a former commander in chief of Strategic Air Command, was the opening guest speaker for the day, and highlighted the importance of leading from the front.

Chain shared valuable lessons he learned over the course of his 35-year Air Force career with the symposium attendees.

"One is to always set yourself apart from the crowd," he said. "Know what your boss needs. Know what you know and what you don't know, and how to fill that void. Always have personal integrity, and learn to work with a diversified team.

"Most importantly, do what is right -- and you always know what's right," Chain said.

Former Eighth Air Force commander, retired Lt. Gen. Robert Elder, talked to the group about the Air Force's legacy of providing alternatives to force-on-force conflict for the commander in chief.

"We are a multi-dimensional Air Force," he said, "And we are known for innovation."

Elder highlighted the Air Force's contributions to joint military actions from its inception in 1947, including the Korean War, the Cold War, Vietnam, Operations Allied Force, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Odyssey Dawn and today.

"We protect the nation and its global interests by conducting global, regional and tactical operations in concert with national and partner instruments of power," he said.

The last speaker for the symposium session was Maj. Gen. Garrett Harencak, the Assistant Chief of Staff for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration, Headquarters U.S. Air Force.

Harencak's focus was on engagement and advocacy, telling the group, "The continuing relevance of what you do needs to be talked about, by all of you.

"For generations, the American people understood the value of what you do in the deterrence mission,” he said. “They don't now. That is my fault -- it's all of our faults -- because we don't talk about it."

The general spoke about the nuclear triad of bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and sea-launched ballistic missiles, and the importance of each, saying that if you cut even one leg of the triad, the deterrence mission is weakened.

"The nuclear triad allows us to give the president of the United States options," he said. "We have to make people understand the value of what we do. You are doing incredibly cool things, so let's talk about it."

Global Strike Challenge concludes Nov. 5, with a traditional score posting and trophy presentations.

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