Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Deterring and Assuring:Air Force Global Strike Command's Mission and Perspective

This blog has reviewed the 2014 Air Force Global Strike Command Strategic Master Plan,which is currently in force.AFGSC is headed by Lieutenant General Stephen W. Wilson,Commander.The AFGSC is entrusted with the nation's most powerful weapons,LTGEN Wilson points out.Its Airmen see things globally,their focus inherently global and strategic.They provide the nation effective deterrence and,when called upon,rapid global strike.
AFGSC is a warfighting component,a MAJCOM of US Strategic Command that executes assigned deterrence,assurance and global strike missions.It organises,trains and equips both conventional and nuclear combat forces for the President and Combatant Commanders.ICBM forces are deployed in a nuclear deterrent role,and AFGSC bombers plan and execute deterrence and Global Power/Strike operations to provide USSTRATCOM with a viable deterrent capability.*
The strategic environment continues to present a very dynamic and uncertain picture and the number of state and non-state actors that can produce strategic effects across the spectrum of conflict is growing in both quantity and complexity.In current and future conflicts,AFGSC forces are required to survive and operate in threat environments ranging from low threat/permissive to highly contested Anti-access/Area Denial environments,according to the US Air Force Posture Statement 2013.
The Air Force's nuclear deterrent and conventional precision strike forces can credibly deny adversary objectives or impose unacceptable costs by effectively holding any target on the planet at risk and,if necessary,disabling or destroying targets promptly,even from bases in the continental United States.
AFGSC has at its disposal two numbered Air Forces,the Eighth and the Twentieth,and five Air Force Bases.Over 25,000 personnel operate,maintain and support its 450 ICBMs;24 UH-1N Air Force Security Forces helicopters;and 96 long range,nuclear-capable bombers.AFGSC B-52H bombers have been deployed to Europe in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve and NATO exercises,while its B-1B bombers have participated in Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIL.*
The era in which the US can project global military power virtually uncontested will likely end by 2030,if not before,the Strategic Master Plan projects.The potential state and non-state actors that can threaten the US and its allies across the spectrum of conflict are growing in number and increasing in complexity.This requires a greater effort by the US to work with key allies and partners to maintain peace and stability around the globe.
Nations with Weapons of Mass Destruction and advanced conventional capabilities will continue to be potential strategic threats.Foreign intelligence and security services will continue efforts to gather information on US capabilities through HUMINT,SIGINT and imagery intelligence to replicate or mitigate US military advantages.Violent and extremist terrorist groups will continue to develop indirect means to strike the US through recruitment and subversion of dissidents or through covert insertion.They will continue to pursue their goal of acquiring nuclear weapons or other WMD,the Strategic Master Plan predicts.*
The Strategic Master Plan goes on to outline in detail a number of priorities that must be met to ensure that the mission of AFGSC will be accomplished,such as the modernisation and replacement of major weapons systems and aircraft.

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