KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
Maj. Gen. Shaun Q. Morris took command of the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center during a ceremony Oct. 6 at Hardin Field.
He succeeds Maj. Gen. Scott W. Jansson, who received the Distinguished Service Medal during the event.
In addition, Morris became the Air Force program executive officer for strategic systems, a position Jansson also held.
Air Force Materiel Command Commander Gen. Ellen M. Pawlikowski presided over the ceremony. “There is nothing — nothing — more important to our nation’s security than our nuclear deterrent capability,” she said.
Pawlikowski said Jansson took command of the nuclear weapons center at a challenging time, when leaders in the Defense Department and Congress were questioning if the center was ready to do its job. The nation’s nuclear weapons were aging, and the Air Force wasn’t sure what the nuclear command, control and communication system would look like.
“And, Scott, all I can say is, ‘Wow,’” she said.
Pawlikowski said Jansson created the concept of nuclear materiel management and led the implementation of it, as well as standing up the nuclear command, control and communication system; putting the intercontinental ballistic missiles on a schedule of depot maintenance and awarding a contract for development of new ICBMs.
He also improved the system of air-launched nuclear missiles and led the effort for a new long-range standoff weapon.
“We have a path for today and into the future, well into the future, for two of the three legs of our nuclear triad,” Pawlikowski said. As for the new commander, Pawlikowski said Morris has a long career in effective leadership. Also, he came from an Air Force family and his first assignment after graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy was in the Ballistic Missile Office at Norton Air Force Base, California.
Jansson said he was grateful to God and the Air Force for the opportunity to lead the nuclear weapons center.
He said he knew the center members would continue to “focus with laser-like precision on the mission” while holding in mind the importance of their responsibility to keep the nuclear deterrent safe, secure, reliable and effective.
“I have not worked with a better group of people,” Jansson told Morris.
Then he spoke to center members. “You are fortunate to have someone of Gen. Morris’ caliber taking command,” he told them.
Morris said he and his wife were honored to join the center, whose members ensure the nation’s nuclear capability is never questioned. “Today’s geopolitical environment is perhaps more challenging than ever,” he said.
The center leads in that environment by managing the U.S. nuclear capability to keep America safe, Morris said.
Jansson’s retirement ceremony followed the change of command.