Commitment to excellence: Inspection ready every day

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Rodney Lewis
  • 4th Airlift Squadron commander
The 62nd Airlift Wing is once again preparing for an inspection of its nuclear program, this time from Air Mobility Command's nuclear directorate and the AMC Weapons Safety office. The inspection team will be at Joint Base Lewis-McChord from March 14-18 to perform a Nuclear Surety Staff Assistance Visit. The NSSAV serves as an "in-house" inspection to prepare the wing for an upcoming Nuclear Surety Inspection. The team from AMC will be focusing on the wing's processes used to train, certify and execute the Prime Nuclear Airlift Force mission.

While the PNAF mission is but one facet of the wing's mission to deliver combat airlift for America, it requires the vigilant effort of nearly every Team McChord organization to maintain the demanded level of performance: perfect always.

From the 4th Airlift Squadron operating the C-17A to perform the logistical movement of nuclear weapons to the 62nd Medical Squadron and the 627th Air Base Group who manage and oversee the Personnel Reliability Program, an in-depth oversight program of those personnel with access to nuclear weapons, to the 62nd Maintenance Squadron performing exhaustive preparations on each aircraft, every organization knows the importance of the PNAF mission and being ready for inspection every day.

The 62nd AW's commitment to excellence has been proven on many past inspections when the wing has achieved high inspection marks. But beyond the impressive track record is the 62nd AW's commitment to the Air Force's number one priority: Strengthening the Air Force Nuclear Enterprise, and the larger stage of this country's national defense.

To apply this commitment to real-world applications, one has to look no further than the recently ratified new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, signed on Dec. 22, 2010, and now is force, as of Feb. 5. Under the Treaty, the U.S. and Russia will be limited to significantly fewer strategic arms within seven years from the date the treaty enters into force. These limits are based on a rigorous analysis conducted by Department of Defense planners in support of the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review.

Now that new START is in force, recently President Obama wrote a message to the Senate of the United States that he intends to engage the Russians on reducing both nations' inventory of "tactical" nuclear weapons. This message was followed up by Rose Gottemoeller, Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, who said, "Work is underway, and is intensifying, to prepare for dialogue with Russia on non-strategic nuclear weapons."

Undoubtedly, when the time comes to begin enacting the new START or any treaty derivative and NPR actions, the 62nd AW will be called on to execute. But, in the meantime, the 62nd AW will continue to train to the perfect standard, whether for inspection or real-world execution we will maintain safe, secure and reliable nuclear operations.