Departing Secretary Helped Create Strike Command

Departing Secretary Helped Create Strike Command

The longest-serving Air Force secretary, Michael Donley, who was credited with helping to create Global Strike Command to improve oversight of the service’s nuclear missiles, retired Friday following a farewell ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Md.

Donley assumed the role in June 2008 after his predecessor Michael Wynne and former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley resigned amid mishaps involving the nuclear force. In one notorious incident in 2007, a B-52 bomber was mistakenly loaded with nuclear warheads and flown across the country, triggering a widespread review and reorganization within the service.

Donley played a role in the 2009 creation of Air Force Global Strike Command, headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and tasked with managing and overseeing the services’ fleet of B-2 and B-52 long-range strike bombers, as well as its arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs.


The 23,000-member command has a mission to “develop and provide combat ready forces for nuclear deterrence and global strike operations – safe, secure, effective – to support the President of the United States and Combatant Commanders,” according to the service.

The organization, which flies B-52s on regular missions in the Pacific region, in 2011 was involved in enforcing a no-fly zone in Libya. Three B-2s with the 509th Bomb Wing on March 19 of that year struck 45 targets at an airfield in Ghardabiya “with great precision,” according to an article in Air Force Magazine.

Global Strike Command emerged from the Cold War-era organization called Strategic Air Command and is also designed to deploy U.S. power quickly and with great effect, according to Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at the Teal Group Corp., an aerospace and defense market research firm in Fairfax, Va.

“This is a way of rapidly deploying air power in areas where there may not be an existing capability nearby,” he said. “This is about the ability to project global power rapidly. If you look at it from an operational viewpoint and not just the hardware, this is an ‘effects-driven’ capability.”

Yet more than three years after the command was established, lawmakers remained concerned about the service’s management of nuclear weaponry.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., last month said inspection shortcomings that led to the suspension of at least 17 junior officers at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., from their authority to control and launch Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles “could not be more troubling.”

Donley defended the changes implemented on his watch, saying the service over the past several years has significantly strengthened the inspection process. “I am confident in the Air Force’s ability to maintain a safe and secure nuclear deterrent,” he said.

Donley was honored at the farewell ceremony by family, friends and top Defense Department officials, including Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh.

Hagel credited Donley’s ability to work in a bipartisan manner.

“Here’s an individual who served five presidents, Republican, Democrat presidents,” he said. “I suspect he was asked more than occasionally, how could you both work in the Bush White House and work as — continued to work as — Secretary of the Air Force under President Obama? I don’t know what his response would be or was, but I suspect it was very simple. It’s bigger than presidents. It’s bigger than politics. It’s about our country. And if we had more of the Mike Donley attitude and sense of purpose in our country today, we’d probably all be a little better off.”

Donley previously served as the director of administration and management in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He also supported two presidents and five national security advisers while working at the National Security Council from 1984 to 1989.

“I am most grateful to have had this opportunity to meet, to know and to represent America’s airmen — the living engine of our Air Force who have stepped forward generation after generation to sustain and advance American air power,” he said.

Donley was succeeded by Acting Secretary Eric Fanning, the highest-ranking openly gay person in the Defense Department.

Tags: , ,

Join the Conversation

And unfortunately, everything Mr. Donley knows about air power he could write inside a matchbook with a large-sized crayon. Here is Mr. Donley’s great contribution to airpower.… that is.… surrender.… http://​www​.​f​-16​.net/​n​e​w​s​_​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​3​3​7​0​.​h​tml

One thing he said is sorta right. Not the USAF, but the USN are beginning to begin work on sixth-gen designs. Already received a tender from Boeing, proposing a Flying wing design with thrust vectoring and two seat cockpit. I find it funny that by the time the F-35 is getting deployed, sixth generation designs are already going through wind tunnel model testing.

Well…we’re buying “just” ~2400.

Can sixth generation design /not/ be joint to speed up deployment? Can the demonstrators be a little more mature?

The F/A-XX program is USN only. Boeing’s been working on the design for several years now, so I can’t estimate maturity.

He stayed so long, due to great personal skills — lack of knowledge about the subject matter managed, no vision, and superb ability to follow the right trends of thinking. He gave up on air superiority, put all eggs in F-35 nonsense, so another bites the dust.

Not disagreeing, but I’m not sure Donley had much choice in the matter when it came to the F-22…Sec Gates had already issued the death warrant for the F-22. There wasn’t a whole lot of mid to long-range strategic thinking going on in those days.….

The USAF is on the brink of going out of business with many squadrons already grounded. The 5th gen or nothing strategy has lead to nearly nothing. I am still highly skeptical that F-35 prices will fall as the Air Force predicts since essentially none of the F-35 estimates has ever held true and after years of learning curve the prices haven’t been dropping much (some sources say they have increased).

The Navy by contrast is in much better shape. They suffered their own 5th Gen problem in the A-12 (lawsuit still pending) but recognized the problem and recovered. Meanwhile, the USAF has continued their death spiral.

Their is blame enough to go around but the next SECAF better have his “stuff” together and lead the Air Force out of this mess!

BTW does anyone really think that F-35 will provide air dominance over Russian T-50s and Chinese J-20, J31 etc? With the lead time needed to develop new aircraft someone better start thinking about this NOW!

Actually, I like the USMC’s method of dealing with the budgetary problems: instead of trying to remain a large force at low readiness — the marines are getting smaller but are highly prepared and ready to fight.

This is what happened when McPeak took over as COSAF and redesinged the Air Force Commands to look like Army Commands, oops that was the enlisted stripes they redesigned, ok, The current ACC is what I love to refer to as a Fighter Jock community and they had NO idea how to do deal with Bombers. This is what caused the problems and then they had to re-invent SAC and call it the Gobal Strike Command so it would sound cooler than the old SAC

Got to give him some credit for making the new form of S.A.C. His new replacement leaves a million miles of desire difference uggg.…..

“Global Strike Command emerged from the Cold War-era organization called Strategic Air Command”

No, it didn’t. What does it tell you when elementary errors of historical fact are thus voiced in the press?

SAC was broken up in 1992 and its assets scattered about. SAC’s old rigid personnel selection, careful central management, detailed planning, and esprit de corps were discarded. Culture and structures which had originally required over a decade of effort by the legendary Curtis LeMay to create were casually flushed down the toilet.

Then by 2007, the resulting disorganization and operational rot had become so severe and undeniable that a flailing attempt was made to reconstitute something like SAC. What resulted was Global Strike Command.

Unfortunately, as continued instances of ineptitude and underperformance at GSC make clear, the USAF have not in fact succeeded in re-creating SAC’s hard competence and tough discipline and operational savvy. Despite GSC operating under *far* less demanding post-Cold-War conditions.

As for the departing Donley? Another bureaucratic mediocrity in a long string of them, to be replaced of a certainty by yet another one. They all blur together. What doesn’t blur is the undeniable long steady downtrend in capability of the USAF. That is in sharp red ink.

So answer this, did SAC own the B52, B2 and B1s before the 1992 Re-Org. So YES It is SAC reborn with a slight defect,

I’m not interested in any hoopla about civilians.

GSC is a bad coverband version of SAC.

*required

NOTE: Comments are limited to 2500 characters and spaces.

By commenting on this topic you agree to the terms and conditions of our User Agreement

AdChoices | Like us on , follow us on and join us on Google+
© 2014 Military Advantage
A Monster Company.