BELLEVUE, Neb. (KMTV) — The message was made clear.
"STRATCOM, you are singularly the most important command in the United States Military," says General Mark Milley, chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Top US military officials and state leaders gathered at Offutt Air Force base Monday morning to dedicate their new $1.3 billion facility to General Curtis Lemay, whose name graced the old STRATCOM building as well.
"Anyone that should ever wonder about the future of Offutt Air Force Base or what kind of missions we'll do here, or whether or not the local community will continue to support the base and its missions, once again look no further than right here at this brand new, command and control facility,” says Vice Admiral David Kreite, Deputy Commander, STRATCOM.
The new facility will be STRATCOM’s operation's center as well as connect the command with the rest of the military around the world.
It also lays the groundwork for the future, putting in an IT infrastructure that will allow STRATCOM leaders to adapt as times and technology change.
"I can't tell you exactly what the missions of STRATCOM will be in two years or five years or 20 years, but I'll bet they're going to be a little bit different than they are today,” says Vice Admiral Kreite.
There was also a changing of the guard on who will command the new STRATCOM facility. General John Hyten handed over duties to Admiral Chas Richard.
Admiral Richard, who formerly commanded US submarine forces, says we're facing threats we haven't seen in decades and that the military will need to move fast to curtail them.
"It's a competition, if you can move faster than your competitors you have an advantage. I don't stay awake at night very much, but when I do that's what I'm thinking about,” says Admiral Richard.
He's also been at Offutt in two separate stints at STRATCOM. He says he's been preparing 37 years for this moment and asked to come back.
"I have not seen a place that whatever you throw in front of this command they will improvise, adapt and overcome and find you a way to get through it and I think that's being in the heartland,” says Richard.
While the new STRATCOM facility is not yet fully operational, Admiral Richard hopes that is coming very soon.