Nuclear oversight board members visit Minot AFB

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Sean D. Smith
  • Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs
More than three dozen Air Force senior leaders, including Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, converged on Minot Air Force Base for a meeting of the Nuclear Oversight Board here Feb. 20.

The NOB is a quarterly meeting that brings together the top Air Force leaders for one purpose: to focus on the Air Force's nuclear enterprise.

"We are here at Minot to get a first-hand perspective of the nuclear enterprise," said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. "The demanding physical environment; the facility recapitalization needs and operations and maintenance demands; the unique operating environment of the Minot community, and the dedication of our northern tier Airmen can best be understood in person."

The board marked Secretary James' fourth visit to Minot AFB in the past year, demonstrating Air Force leaders' commitment to the nuclear enterprise.

The NOB team received the most recent updates regarding the Force Improvement Program improvements on base, which included new gear for defenders, deep cleaning for missile alert facilities, and an increase in base personnel. This program is just a year old, but is already having a huge impact, said Airmen who shared their feedback with the board members.

"The Airmen at Minot have the unique challenge of performing both the ICBM and strategic bomber missions in an austere, demanding environment," said Lt. General Stephen Wilson, the Air Force Global Strike commander. "Hosting the Nuclear Oversight Board at Minot provided an excellent opportunity for the Air Force's senior leaders to experience the nuclear mission first-hand and see how the ongoing changes to the nuclear enterprise have improved both Airmen's ability to do the mission and quality of life for them and their families."

In addition to improving facilities and resources, the Air Force also intends to modernize equipment throughout the nuclear enterprise.

"It's something we have to do to protect our nation," said Maj. Gen. Garrett Harencak, the assistant chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration. "In this world there still is a nuclear threat, and our United States Air Force is there to meet it so we can defend our great nation and our allies."

While at Minot AFB, Air Force leaders saw aging equipment and infrastructure in need of upgrading. They also visited a B-52 Hangar, missile alert facilities, and the flightline.

"Every day our Airmen demonstrate integrity, service, and excellence in the missile complex, on-base and off-duty," said Col. Michael Lutton, the 91st Missile Wing commander. "The Nuclear Oversight Board provided another opportunity for our Airmen to showcase their nuclear deterrence mission in the missile complex, and underscore the fact that only the best come North and display Rough Rider spirit -- Bully!"