By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Officials at Tinker Air Force Base are following the lead of top Air Force brass in putting renewed focus on their nuclear mission, making it their number one priority.
Air Force leaders recently concluded that a combination of factors, including the end of the Cold War, military downsizing, 9/11, and the Iraq War among others, led to the degradation of the Air Force's nuclear program and they are determined to turn that around.
At Tinker's massive Air Logistics Center, they don't work on nuclear warheads, but they do work on the vehicles that deliver them, including the B-2, B-52, and cruise missiles.
Logistics Center Commander, Major General Loren Reno, did what he called a "nuclear immersion day" last Friday, spending the entire day visiting with the various units that are linked to the Air Force's nuclear enterprise.
"We looked at training, we looked at storage and distribution, we looked at processes and procedures," Reno said. "We looked at our exercise program."
Reno said prioritization was not a directive from above. Reno thought it would be a way to measure Tinker's nuclear efforts, and the men and women who comprise them.
Reno said Tinker personnel are very well-trained and dedicated, adhere to the highest standards, and are ready to do their part in reinvigorating the Air Force's nuclear enterprise.
He added that it is critical, since a strong nuclear arsenal forms the backstop of the nation's strategic defense.
"We have done, as an Air Force, a lot of things to improve our focus in this area, there remains work to be done," Reno said. "My personal attention to it at Tinker Air Force base is imperative."
Tinker has also decided to focus on being able to provide a safe haven for a nuclear weapons system, should one ever have to make an emergency landing there that is something they train for regularly.
General Reno said another indication of how important he views this is the fact that this immersion day last Friday was the first day in 18 months on the job that he committed an entire day to one activity.