Air Force Secretary Discusses Importance Of Fort Smith’s 188th Wing

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- The 23rd Secretary of the Air Force made a special flight to Fort Smith on Monday (Dec. 14) to discuss the future of the 188th Wing.

Secretary Deborah Lee James was invited to visit Fort Smith by Congressman Womack about one year ago during an Army-Air Force football game.

"It is rare for us to have a service secretary visit us and see what we have to offer," Womack said. "I am grateful that she kept that promise to come see Fort Smith."

The visit was a chance for James to take a look at the 188th's operations since the change over from the A-10's to the remotely piloted air crafts.

The 188th is the only organization focused on Space Targeting, which is the monitoring of links between the earth and sky, according to James. She said the operation in Fort Smith is important on a national level.

"Nuclear missile warning is another important element of space so, Fort Smith going forward in the future is going to help enable much of what we need to accomplish as the United States military in space," James said.

James has served in this position since 2013. She oversees all the affairs of the Department of the Air Force, including the watching over the nearly 664,000 active duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian Airmen and their families. She also oversees the Air Force's annual budget of more than $139 billion.

The last time Fort Smith was visited by an Air Force leader was for the announcement that the 188th Fighter Wing would switch over to the M-Q-9 drones.