AFNWC directorate key to managing modernization of weapons generation facilities

  • Published
  • By AFNWC Program Management and Integration Directorate
  • Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center
Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center program managers and engineers, along with Air Force Global Strike Command representatives, recently visited the construction site at F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, for the first-of-its-kind Air Force weapons generation facility.
This new type of facility consolidates the weapon maintenance, storage and training functions required to support the intercontinental ballistic missile and strategic bomber missions. Since the current weapon storage areas were built in the 1960s to 1970s, the new WGFs provide more secure and efficient operations.
“F.E. Warren is the first of several sites in the Air Force to receive one of the most advanced and secure infrastructure systems in the United States,” said Mohsen Parhizkar, AFNWC director of program management and integration.
These WGFs will be constructed during the next 20 years. The four projects currently in design or construction phases are two ICBM and two bomber WGFs valued at over $1 billion. The F.E. Warren facility is scheduled to be completed by July 2025, with construction of the second ICBM facility scheduled to begin in fiscal year 2023. The bomber WGFs are both in the design phase, with their construction scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of FY 2023 and first quarter of FY 2024.
The AFNWC Program Management and Integration Directorate is responsible for the management of these multi-million-dollar facilities. It serves in this capacity as Air Force Global Strike Command acquisition program manager and integrator for WGFs.
The directorate helps deliver critical warfighting capability by enabling AFGSC to safely and securely store, maintain and generate its nuclear mission capability for combat lethality and strategic nuclear deterrence.
On Aug. 17, 2021, AFNWC officially stepped into a new role supporting nuclear deterrence operations. In a critical memorandum of agreement, the commanders of AFGSC and Air Force Materiel Command directed AFNWC to assume duties as the “single program manager and integrator for all WGF activities.”
This designation complemented an already ongoing effort within AFNWC to support facilities, sustainment, restoration and modernization, and military construction (MILCON) for next-generation nuclear deterrence capabilities.
The designation of AFNWC as the single integrator for WGFs fulfills an effort that began more than a decade ago when, in 2010, Parhizkar led an AFNWC nuclear surety team in the assessment of the weapons storage area program and determined its infrastructure was in need of extensive modernization.
Parhizkar likened the modernization needs concerning the aged infrastructure to restoring an old car.
“You can invest lots of money and time into making the ‘57 Chevy shiny and pretty, but in the end, you still have a ‘57 Chevy,” he said.
The assessment results solidified the need for development of the WGFs to integrate weapon maintenance, storage, training and generation into a consolidated facility. This simultaneously improves safety, security and combat capability in support of ICBM and bomber missions, according to Parhizkar. 
In 2016, AFGSC and AFMC agreed on the need for a single program manager for all WGF modernization, but many of the program management decisions still remained outside of the AFNWC program integration office for these facilities.
In September 2020, AFNWC stood up the new directorate under the leadership of Parhizkar to focus on modernizing support infrastructure of current weapons storage areas into WGFs, as well as supporting nuclear military construction projects under the Air Force program executive officers for strategic systems and nuclear command, control and communications.
This $12-billion directorate portfolio encompasses all programs and weapon systems projects across associated installations, including for two new weapon system platforms, the future LGM-35A Sentinel and AGM-181 Long Range Standoff Weapon.
“The success of the mission is a tribute to the men and women who are executing the work,” Parhizkar said. “Through their personal commitment to success, they are making do with facilities that do not match their level of dedication. It is time to move from what is acceptable to what is exceptional for our nation’s critical nuclear assets.”
“We need to manage the WGFs as a system of systems, similar to the way we manage the Sentinel program, especially since the WGF and Sentinel combined MILCON efforts are the largest Air Force MILCON bill in history!” said Maj. Gen. Anthony Genatempo, then AFNWC commander and Air Force program executive officer for strategic systems.
The directorate works with many stakeholders to integrate WGF deliveries, including AFGSC, Air Force Safety Center, Air Force Installation Management and Sustainment Center, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Army Corps of Engineers, Naval Facility Engineering Command, three national laboratories, other AFNWC directorates, and multiple installation representatives.
The center is responsible for synchronizing all aspects of nuclear materiel management on behalf of AFMC in direct support of AFGSC. Headquartered at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, the center has more than 1,900 military and civilian personnel at 17 locations worldwide.