OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. --
The 595th Command and Control Group will be activated under Air Force Global Strike Command in an Oct. 6 ceremony at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.
The realignment will focus the 1st Airborne Command Control Squadron, the 595th Strategic Communications Squadron, the 595th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron under the Eighth Air Force.
“The mission isn’t going to change, we’re just doing it with a different patch,” said Col. Robert Billings, the incoming commander of the 595th CACG. “We’re refocusing our nuclear enterprise and putting it under one command. Instead of Air Combat Command having a part, 20th Air Force having a part, Global Strike having one or two things – now it’s all under Global Strike.”
This refocusing also results in a consolidation of Air Force Nuclear Command and Control Communications, and transfer of the E-4B, the aircraft which serves as the National Airborne Operations Center for the president, the secretary of defense, and the joint chiefs of staff.
The realignment is being viewed as a necessary step in using the threat of nuclear force as deterrence against terrorism or future conflict.
“The events of the world right now necessitate us to ensure our nuclear forces are ready and ultimately can execute if need be,” said Maj. Andrew Kasperek, the incoming commander of the newly-formed 595th SCS. “That’s what this new group enables – this helps show the American public we are taking the steps necessary to ensure the vitality and the future of our nuclear forces. We’re taking it seriously.”
While the 595th AMXS is newly formed for the purpose of the 595th CACG, other squadrons preexist the group and are merely being reorganized under the 595th banner.
Lt. Col. Deane Konowicz has held command of the 625th STOS for 15 months, and will transition with his squadron to the 595th. His squadron is already aligned under AFGSC, although they currently fall administratively under the 20th Air Force.
“It’s a more seamless transition for us,” Konowicz said. “Being a geographically separated unit has its challenges.”
Konowicz said the merger allows squadrons with similar missions – like one-of-a-kind command and control systems – to refocus and advocate better for national and nuclear security.
“When Strategic Air Command was broken up at the end of the Cold War, many of our different weapons systems and platforms were pushed out across the Air Force to different major commands,” he said. “That hasn’t allowed us to advocate for those systems as best as we could have. But now that they’re consolidated under Global Strike Command, I think we can provide better advocacy, better mission focus and ultimately present capabilities uniformly to the combatant commander.”
Billings is confident in the future of the 595th CACG, and believes they will hit the ground running.
“The mission is so critical and we need to get it right,” Billings said. “I know the men and women of the 595th Command and Control Group can do this. They’re at the highest caliber already -- we’re ready for the responsibilities to make it fully operational.”