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​Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh speaks at an AFA-sponsored, Air Force breakfast in Arlington, Va., on April 2, 2015. Staff photo by Lyndsey Akers.

Elevating the head of Air Force Global Strike Command to a four-star billet is part of the Air Force’s effort to get back into the national debate over nuclear weapons, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said on April 2 during an AFA-sponsored, Air Force event in Arlington, Va. “We should be in the middle of policy debates” on nuclear forces because “we lead and execute two-thirds of the nuclear triangle,” said Welsh. A four-star “in that position allows us to [participate] in those discussions where having a three-star made it difficult.” It also gives the AFGSC chief “more ability to influence” what happens with the nuclear enterprise. Welsh said he envisions the head of AFGSC being invited to policy discussions at the DOD leadership and National Security Council level. USAF “should be very clearly expressing concern, identifying things” that affect the deterrence mission and “we should not be waiting for things to happen” in that arena, he said.