Strategic Air Command (SAC), former command of the U.S. air force (see Air Force, United States Department of the) charged with organizing, training, equipping, administering, and preparing strategic air forces for combat; it was headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base. From 1946 to 1992, SAC controlled most U.S. strategic nuclear weapons. Its bombers and guided missiles played a key role in the nuclear strategy of the cold war.
SAC was abolished in 1992 as part of the reorganization of the Department of Defense, and the Strategic Command was created. The Space Command was merged into the Strategic Command in 2002. The interservice Strategic Command, also based at Offutt, now coordinates nuclear plans for both the U.S. air force and navy and oversees all U.S. nuclear forces, conducts reconnaissance for strategic targets, oversees the radar and satellites that detect ballistic missile launches, and protects military computers and networks and conducts cyberwarfare.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.