The Air Force's newest command has its first leader.
Brigadier General James Kowalski will serve as commander of the USAF's provisional Global Strike Command until a three-star general takes charges of the permanent command next year. Kowalski, who previously served on the joint staff, will run the command from its temporary headquarters at Bolling AFB in Washington, D.C.
A career bomber pilot, General Kowalski has the right background to get the new command up and running. Strike Command will eventually integrate 8th Air Force and its nuclear bombers (currently part of Air Combat Command) and ICBMs that are assigned to 20th Air Force, which falls under Air Force Space Command.
The provisional command is scheduled for activation on 12 January. In announcing the move, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley noted that the new command is part of rebuilding the service's nuclear enterprise:
“With Air Force Global Strike Command, we are establishing a single organization operationally focused on the nuclear and global strike missions,” Donley said in an Air Force news release. “AFGSC represents a crucial commitment to our responsibility for day-to-day excellence and unquestionable stewardship of the nuclear and strategic deterrence missions.”
As the new command moves from provisional to permanent status, it is also expected to gain a new home. A well-placed Air Force source tells us that Minot AFB, North Dakota is now the leading candidate for the command headquarters. Minot is already home for a B-52 wing and a Minuteman III ICBM unit.
The North Dakota base has other advantages as well; there's plenty of room to expand, local real estate is cheap and there are few outside "distractions." Just plenty of time to focus on the mission, something the Air Force nuclear enterprise could certainly use.