Air Force announces preferred alternative for new Global Strike Command headquarters

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Air Force officials here announced April 2 that Barksdale Air Force Base, La., is the preferred alternative for the permanent location of the Air Force Global Strike Command headquarters.

AFGSC is a new major command focused on the nuclear and global strike mission.

The identification of a preferred alternative is part of the environmental impact analysis process required under the National Environmental Policy Act. Although Barksdale AFB has been identified as the preferred alternative, a final basing decision will not be made until the environmental process is completed.

In October 2008, Air Force officials announced that a major command would be created to be the single authority over all strategic operational forces assigned to the nuclear deterrence mission. The service established a provisional AFGSC headquarters at Bolling AFB, D.C, as an interim location for the command on Jan. 12, 2009.

On Jan. 21, Air Force officials announced the six potential candidate bases for the major command and began site surveys that concluded on March 6. The candidate bases were Barksdale AFB; F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo.; Malmstrom AFB, Mont.; Minot AFB, N.D.; Offutt AFB, Neb.; and Whiteman AFB, Mo.

"All six candidate locations received a thorough evaluation in accordance with our basing process," said Kathleen I. Ferguson, the deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations. "Site survey teams used previously established criteria to gather information, assess capabilities and refine initial data. This information was then evaluated during a Headquarters Air Force-level review to select a preferred alternative."

She added that this basing selection was made using a measured and deliberate process to ensure that the final decision is the best possible outcome for national defense and is in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

The selection of a preferred alternative was primarily based on an installation's ability to provide significant nuclear mission synergy. Other criteria evaluated included facilities and infrastructure, support capacity, transportation and access, communications and bandwidth, and security to support the AFGSC headquarters.

Following the completion of the environmental impact analysis, Air Force officials intend to make a final base selection this summer.