The City Beat noticed a press release the other day from Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., in which he said the state’s congressional delegation is lobbying the Air Force to make Minot Air Force Base the new home of Global Strike Command.
The arguments, if you read the release, are threefold:
- Minot AFB has the nuclear missile and nuclear bomber mission, being the only base with both missions.
- The base has lots of room for expansion and great infrastructure. The delegation has pushed hard to get funding for that infrastructure probably so that it can make this kind of argument. You may remember that the great infrastructure at Grand Forks AFB was an argument for keeping it open during the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure round.
- Local people love the Air Force. They say that about Grand Forks, too.
I was too busy with flood coverage to blog about this, but the news excites me because I’m fascinated by nuclear strategy. I’m not saying I love the bomb. I just accept that it’s a necessity and, since we have to have those nukes, we might as well have them here in North Dakota.
Global Strike Command, by the way, is just a revival of the old Strategic Air Command. I wonder why the defense department would use such a menacing name, like, yeah, we’re gonna blow the Earth up! Maybe it didn’t want to revive SAC, which might sound like it’s trying to revive the Cold War. Why not something like "Strategic Deterrent Command" or something harmless-sounding like that?
The formation of GSC is an effort to bring back the discipline of the old SAC. After SAC was dismantled, the nuclear bomber and nuclear missile forces were split up, the former going to Air Combat Command and the latter going to Space Command, both of which apparently treated the nuke forces like stepchildren, hence the lack of discipline.
Of course, that brings up a counterargument for putting GSC at Minot AFB: The poor performance of airmen there on several occasions, including the accidental transportation of some nuclear bombs to Louisiana and bad scores on security tests, contributed to the military’s decision to form GSC in the first place.