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Vitter congratulates first 4-Star General at Barksdale

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(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-La.) today congratulated General Robin Rand for beginning his service as Commander for Air Force Global Strike Command.

General Rand is the first 4-Star General to lead the Global Strike Command at Barksdale Air Force Base (AFGSC), and today is his first day in this position. General Rand was confirmed in March 2015. Vitter has fought since 2012 to call for and finalize the 4-Star designation for Barksdale.

U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-La.)
U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-La.)

“I’m very proud to see General Rand begin his service as the first 4-Star General to lead the Global Strike Command. Getting this designation took years of work and has been among my top priorities,” Vitter said. “The 4-star designation and changes the Air Force has made are proof of the Defense Department’s long-term commitment to Barksdale and the U.S. Nuclear Triad, and it will give Barksdale a seat at the table during key decisions.”

Vitter also thanks Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson for his time as commander. “Under his leadership, the Air Force realigned three additional bases under AFGSC, which will increase the command’s footprint to eight bases,” Vitter said. Earlier this year, the Air Force announced their decision to move the Long Range Strike-Bomber program to AFGSC. This action makes a single command responsible for organizing, training and equipping Airmen to perform the Air Force’s global strike mission.

Vitter and the Congressional Delegation have pushed the U.S. Air Force to elevate Barksdale’s Global Strike Command to a four-star general position since its inception in 2009. Vitter has been pushing for these changes and improvements to Global Strike despite the Obama administration’s attempts to reduce the priority of nuclear missions following passage of the New START Treaty.

Vitter secured a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 that recognizes the U.S. Nuclear Triad, of which two thirds is managed by Global Strike Command, as the highest mission in our nation’s defense. Congress’ support for this shows its long term commitment to Barksdale Air Force Base, which is home to U.S. Global Strike Command and is responsible for the majority of that Triad.

Vitter has met with General Welsh, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James, Secretary of the Air Force, and Eric Fanning, Undersecretary of the Air Force. In February, Vitter met with Dr. Ashton Carter, the recently nominated Secretary of Defense to push for the elevation to a four star position. Additionally, Vitter has pushed the case for this designation during multiple Senate Armed Services Committee hearings.