WASHINGTON — The Air Force passed another important milestone Nov. 20 as Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein, the new deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration at the Pentagon, assumed his new duties.
The move elevates the position to the three-star level, another step toward strengthening leadership focus on the nuclear enterprise. Before Weinstein started his new job, the directorate was led by a two-star general. His move comes a short time after the Air Force upgraded Air Force Global Strike Command to a four-star command, and made the nuclear lead on the Air Staff, commonly referred to as the A10, a three-star billet.
The secretary of the Air Force made the decision to upgrade AFGSC to a four-star position in early 2013, to reflect the mission’s vital nature. An internal Department of Defense review ordered by former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel echoed that intent in an early 2014 recommendation, along with elevating the Headquarters Air Force directorate responsible for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration to a 3-star general position.
"We live in a dynamic global environment with ever-evolving threats," said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. "A persistent and strong leadership focus is a must for this special trust and responsibility mission. We owe this to our nation and our warfighters. No doubt, this move strengthens the nuclear enterprise."
Gen. Robin Rand assumed command of Air Force Global Strike Command July 28th, beginning the upgrade transitions and Weinstein’s assignment to the A10 office completes that plan.
"Our leadership is squarely in the middle of the nuclear policy discussion," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh. "Appointing a 4-star at (Air Force) Global Strike Command and now having a 3-star at the Headquarters directorate level will best guide the future of this enterprise as we modernize and execute this critical national security mission."
Weinstein comes to the Air Staff from 20th Air Force at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, where he commanded all the intercontinental ballistic missile wings in the Air Force.
As the commander of all ICBM forces, he was uniquely positioned to understand the importance of the nuclear deterrent capability and how it contributes to global security.
“It is an understatement to describe the current world environment as anything less than dangerous,” said Weinstein in his change of command speech Nov. 16, listing a host of nuclear-armed and ambitious potential adversaries. “But Americans are safe from this threat because of a nuclear deterrent force led by Airmen in ICBM launch control centers and Eighth Air Force bombers, and sailors in sea-launched ballistic missile submarines.”
Succeeding Weinstein at 20th AF is Maj. Gen. Tony Cotton, previously deputy director of the National Reconnaissance Office.