Center celebrates 15 years ensuring nuclear weapons are ‘never doubted, always feared’

  • Published
  • By Leah Bryant, AFNWC Public Affairs
  • Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center
AFNWC 15th Anniversary Logo
The Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center celebrated a major anniversary today, 15 years after its activation.
The center stood up officially on March 31, 2006. The Air Force activated the center to consolidate and unify nuclear weapons and their related support systems into a single organization. 
Today, it is responsible for synchronizing all aspects of nuclear materiel management on behalf of Air Force Materiel Command in direct support of Air Force Global Strike Command.
“You were formed at a time when we’d kind of taken our eye off the nuclear ball, and where systems weren’t kind of doing what we needed them to, we didn’t have the rigor and the discipline. You’ve instilled that back into the system over the last 15 years,” said Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr., AFMC commander, in a congratulatory video to the center’s members.
“You are on the cutting-edge of this nation’s deterrence and you’ve raised our awareness of the nuclear mission to all new levels. Today, you are ensuring the systems we have online, even though they are long past their shelf life that we anticipated, are ready to go at a moment’s notice and you’re modernizing, so that we will have that nuclear deterrent capability far, far out into the future,” Bunch said.
The center now manages modernization programs for the future Ground Based Strategic Deterrent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and Long-Range Standoff Weapon; sustainment programs for the current Minuteman III ICBM and Air-Launched Cruise Missile; and key programs and integration activities related to nuclear command-and-control communications, nuclear gravity bombs, and nuclear certification.
“For the past 15 years, the center has ensured our nation’s most powerful weapon systems are never doubted and always feared.  It is no secret that we have a lot of modernization and sustainment programs in the works” said Gen. Timothy M. Ray, AFGSC commander, in a recent video. “Our nation is in a competition with great powers and we need the best and brightest working to help us stay ahead of our adversaries, and that’s exactly what we have with the Nuclear Weapons Center. You are an amazing team of Airmen, civilian, officers and enlisted, all working together to help us bring nuclear capabilities to our next generation of ICBMs and bombers.”
Center members marked the occasion virtually with cake and toasts at several of its locations. Headquartered at Kirtland AFB, the center has about 1,800 personnel assigned to 18 locations worldwide.
“This is an incredibly celebratory time for us,” said Brig. Gen. Anthony W. Genatempo, AFNWC commander and Air Force program executive officer for strategic systems. “I am very happy to be here at really what we could consider to be the rebirth of the importance of the nuclear mission and I am looking forward to…bringing us into that modernized and innovative future.”
“It's not just the legacy that these 15 years represent, it's the legacy that started 75 years ago at a little place called Los Alamos, New Mexico,” Genatempo said. “Just to the west of Santa Fe, a group of incredibly dedicated individuals led by General Leslie Groves and Dr. Robert Oppenheimer set out to do the impossible. They knew what innovation was all about 75 years ago.”
Throughout its history, the center has been responsible for the entire scope of nuclear weapon systems, including responsibility for synchronizing Air Force delivery systems with bomb assemblies and warheads provided by the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.
At the time of its activation in March 2006, AFNWC’s first commander, Col. Greg Foraker, said, “Kirtland is a natural place to locate the newest member of the nuclear community, the Nuclear Weapons Center. The base has been at the heart of nuclear activities for over [then] 60 years. We have the history here and already have the important players and experts in place."
See our History page for more on the anniversary and visit for our “15 Days of AFNWC” playlist on Facebook with congratulatory videos from current and former senior leaders.