Happy birthday NWC: Nuclear Weapons Center celebrates year of success

  • Published
  • By Sheila Rupp
  • Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center
In the short time it has existed the Nuclear Weapons Center here has had a lot of accomplishments on its way to becoming the Air Force's Nuclear Center of Excellence.

The NWC was created here March 31, 2006 and has two wings under it, the 498th Armament Systems Wing and the 377th Air Base Wing.

In March 2006, Col. Terrence Feehan, the then-377th ABW commander, said that the NWC was the Air Force's opportunity to consolidate its nuclear weapons functions and extend its leadership in these critical areas. Today, as the NWC commander, Colonel Feehan said that the NWC has an obligation and responsibility to ensure safe, secure and reliable weapons systems in all aspects.

The NWC and underlying units have seen many milestones in the past 12 months. The 377th ABW earned an "excellent" in the operational readiness inspection, hosted the largest air show the base has ever seen and stood up all support elements for the CV-22. The 498th ARSW made tremendous strides to advance the Air Force's cruise missile capability and launched more than 20 initiatives aimed at reducing transportation requirements, enhancing security and increasing supply-chain efficiencies.

The NWC also came together as a whole in January 2007 for an extremely successful nuclear surety inspection. Colonel Feehan attributes all of these accomplishments to the individual excellence each of the units possessed before the merger under the NWC.

"The synergy from these individual units has combined to form a new capability in the NWC. This potential has enabled other MAJCOMS and the Air Staff to transfer significant additional responsibility to the center," Colonel Feehan said. "Basically, we're transitioning from being the Air Force Materiel Command focal point for nuclear weapons to the Air Force's responsible agency for weapons from conception to disposal."

In order to completely fulfill the mandate to become the Air Force Nuclear Center for Excellence over the next year, the NWC will work to integrate weapons program management and intercontinental ballistic missile acquisition and sustainment programs into the center.

The center has also helped to further the vision of One Materiel Command by providing a nexus for nuclear systems, Colonel Feehan said. "The center has brought experts together under our umbrella and is able to integrate resources across AFMC and provide a single responsible organization."

The addition of the program management responsibilities and the transfer of significant portions of ICBM acquisition and sustainment functions will add two operating locations and more than 1,000 personnel to the NWC.

The weapons center is a unique part of AFMC and the Air Force as a whole and serves as a hub for nuclear systems for the entire Air Force.

"We are the only center with these responsibilities. ... We have an obligation - what we do has to be done right; it has to be done perfectly," Colonel Feehan said.