KSLA Salutes: General Cotton takes command of Global Strike Command

Friday, General Anthony Cotton took command of the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command
Friday, General Anthony Cotton took command of the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command(BAFB)
Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 6:20 PM CDT
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BARKSDALE, La. (KSLA) - On Friday, Aug. 27, General Anthony Cotton took command of the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command from General Tim Ray. Global Strike Command is headquartered on Barksdale Air Force Base.

President Joe Biden nominated Cotton back in June.

Cotton is the newest leader of the U.S. Air Force’s portion of the nuclear enterprise which maintains the nation’s only force of intercontinental ballistic missiles and strategic bombers; he will also oversee over 30,000 airmen.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. presided over the ceremony.

“There is simply no one more qualified and ready to take the reins of Air Force Global Strike Command,” Brown said of Cotton. “There are many things the Air Force must do well, but there are few things the Air Force can never get wrong. Ensuring the safety, the security and reliability of two-thirds of our nation’s nuclear triad is binary. We must never fail, and that is why General Cotton is the perfect choice to inspire and lead this command into the future. Success requires leaders with a solid understanding of strategic imperatives, the ability to build teams, and a vision biased towards action, and Gen. Cotton is a leader who has all three. I know when called upon, Global Strike will be ready to fly, fight and win, providing our nation and its allies airpower, anytime, anywhere.”

With this change of command, Gen. Cotton became the sixth commander of Air Force Global Strike Command and the first Black man to lead the Air Force’s nuclear arsenal.

“I cannot put into words how proud I am to be a part of this incredible command,” Cotton said. “In carrying the legacy of long range strike we have a huge responsibility. We must always be ready. Always ready to stand up to any aggressor, always ready to protect our allies, and always ready to provide a safe, secure, reliable and effective arsenal of long range strike capability. We need to masterfully execute the modernization of our nuclear portfolio. We need to have agile technology infused in our systems, ready to adapt to future challenges. We also need to sustain our current force and keep it capable and ready until replacements arrive. We need to innovate and collaborate. Not just with military industry and government, but also with community partners to discuss quality of life, safety, education and social issues.”

Cotton is responsible for the nation’s fleet of Minuteman III ICBMs, the land-based component of the nuclear triad. Three missile wings and one Numbered Air Force maintain this deterrent force on a day-to-day basis.

He is also responsible for all of the nation’s strategic bombers, which include the nuclear-capable B-52H Stratofortress and B-2 Spirit, as well as the conventional-only B-1B Lancer. These aircraft fall under five wings spread throughout the United States and one Numbered Air Force.

Altogether, these aircraft form the air-based leg of the triad, which is deployed in support of every combatant command around the world.

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