Gen. Robin Rand, previously the commander of Air Education and Training Command, took over as commander of Air Force Global Strike Command on Tuesday during a ceremony at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.
Rand is taking over for Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, who is now the vice commander of U.S. Strategic Command.
The Air Force made the top job at Global Strike a four-star position to raise the emphasis on the mission and because the mission deserves "the highest level of leadership," Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said when the Air Force announced the decision earlier this year. Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said when he told Rand about the job, he tasked him with becoming the next Gen. Curtis LeMay, the legendary Air Force general who oversaw Strategic Air Command.
"The appointment of a 4-star sends a powerful message to our Airmen, allies and any would be enemy," James said in a statement to Air Force Times on Tuesday. "It speaks to our commitment and promise to our Airmen and Nation to ensure a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrence and global strike capability with the right level of leadership emphasis."
Rand is tasked with institutionalizing progress in the command and improving the morale and ability of his airmen, following tumultuous years when the command was rocked by cheating and morale scandals.
"He is the right leader to advocate for the needs of the mission set and airmen responsible for its execution," James said. "In a complex global environment, having a 4-star general responsible for the world's most powerful weapons is critically important."
Rand is a career fighter pilot who has not previously been assigned to the Air Force's nuclear community. He has experience overseeing a command rocked by scandals. He took over Air Education and Training Command in October 2013 following several investigations and convictions of military training instructors for sexual assault.
"Maintaining a credible nuclear force requires leaders at all levels who pay attention, to both the mission and the people who make it happen," Welsh said in a statement Tuesday. "General Rand listens to his airmen, cares for them and is a catalyst for change."