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NEWS | Nov. 19, 2021

Minot AFB hosts Nuclear Weapons Council, focuses on strategic effectiveness, investment

By Airman 1st Class Evan Lichtenhan 5th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Members of the Nuclear Weapons Council visited Minot Air Force Base, N.D. Nov. 17, 2021, making the trip the first time the council toured a Department of Defense installation under the current administration.

The NWC is an interagency council between the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy with a primary role in coordinating nuclear warhead development, production and ensuring the reliability and safety of the nation’s nuclear stockpile.

In a statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee Feb. 13, 2020, Adm. Charles A. Richard, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, outlined the role and advocacy of the NWC as, “[describing] a path forward to enable an effective, responsive, and resilient Nuclear Security Enterprise, but successful navigation of the path will only be possible through continued on-time investments.”

The NWC visit at Minot AFB ensured meaningful discussions with airmen and leaders who have first-hand experiences in protecting, interacting with and maintaining strategic assets, thereby enabling informed, inter-agency decisions for warhead programs.

An additional primary responsibility of the NWC includes the modernization of the United States’ nuclear arsenal, an essential role in maintaining national nuclear deterrence. The council currently plays a leading role in the United States’ effort to modernize nuclear facilities and capabilities.

“This was an excellent opportunity for our people to show those at some of the highest levels of decision making and influence in the nuclear deterrence and modernization community what we’re doing on the ground to support national policy and initiatives, “said Col. Johnny L. Galbert, 91st Missile Wing, vice commander. “We’re proud across the board of what we do to uphold a safe, secure, reliable, and effective strategic deterrent, and that sentiment is held all the way from the airmen who carry the weight of this mission day in and out to the highest leadership at Minot.”

Minot AFB and the airmen assigned here continue to maintain strategic assets and provide capabilities for two of the three attributes of the nuclear triad. The NWC examined the capabilities and the readiness of both the 5th Bomb Wing and the 91st MW, to include in-depth briefings and tours of B-52H Stratofortress aircraft, Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile operations, as well as other operational and support facilities.