OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. — A new $1.3 billion military facility that will serve as the U.S.'s military command headquarters during national emergencies will soon open at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha.

The first of more than 3,500 employees will begin moving into U.S. Strategic Command’s new Command and Control Facility in the spring, The Omaha World-Herald reported.

The 916,000-square-foot (85,000-square-meter) facility will replace STRATCOM’s current headquarters in the Gen. Curtis E. LeMay Building, which was constructed in 1957.

“The construction of the (Command and Control Facility) is historic,” said Vice Adm. David Kriete, STRATCOM’s deputy commander. “It marks the transition from the old to the new.”

The facility is "a national asset" designed to serve as the nation's military command headquarters, even during a national emergency such as a nuclear war, Kriete said.

"We firmly believe a nuclear war should never be fought," Kriete said. "But we want the good guys to know, and the bad guys to know; we're really good at it."

The project is in its second phase, which focuses on installing technology in the facility, Kriete said. The headquarters will have oversight of the nation's space forces, missile defense, electronic warfare and nuclear arsenal.

Work on the project began in October 2012. The project has seen many setbacks, including flooding problems, persistent mold, a fire and a tornado.

"There's been some minor glitches," Kriete said. "Nothing that has substantially set us back."

STRATCOM plans to move all staff into the new headquarters by the end of the year, he said.

“I’m very optimistic,” Kriete said. “We’re not going to move the command over until (the building) is mission-ready.”

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