U.S. Strategic Command

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- The scope of the entire U.S. military is vast, yet there is not a single military mission on Earth that is not supported in some way by U.S. Strategic Command.

Known as Stratcom and based at this base south of Omaha, Strategic Command is one of America's three functional combatant commands (and one of nine overall) and covers the whole planet, the depths of the oceans, and up to 22,000 nautical miles into space.

From operating B-2 bombers over Libya to space analysts looking into radiation fallout from Japan's 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Stratcom is involved.

As part of Road Trip 2013, CNET's Daniel Terdiman visited Stratcom for a look at its history, its present and its future.

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Minuteman and Trident

Formerly known as Strategic Air Command (SAC) and based at Offutt since 1948 (after being founded in 1946 at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C.), Stratcom is a joint command, meaning members of all American military services are represented.

A Minuteman missile (right) and a Trident missile stand outside Stratcom headquarters as a reminder of its past and current missions.

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Operations floor

A look at the operations floor at Stratcom in a photograph provided by Stratcom.

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Photo by: U.S. Strategic Command / Caption by:

Commanders' situation room

A photograph, provided by Stratcom, of the commanders' situation room at Stratcom headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base.

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Photo by: U.S. Stratcom / Caption by:

SAC logo

As reminder of Stratcom's legacy, the entryway to its headquarters features a U.S. Strategic Air Command (SAC) logo in the floor. SAC was deactivated in 1992.

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Doomsday plane

One of Stratcom's many missions is the National Airborne Operations Center, known colloquially as the Doomsday plane, which military leaders would use to conduct operations in case of a crisis such as a nuclear war. There are four NAOC planes, which are operated by the 55th Air Wing at Offutt Air Force Base.

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Looking Glass

An EC-135 known as "Looking Glass" that was a precursor to the current-generation Doomsday plane.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

SR-71

This is an SR-71 Blackbird, housed at the Strategic Air Command museum in Ashland, Neb. The Blackbird was operated by SAC.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

U2

A U2 spy plane that flew high over the Soviet Union during the Cold War, housed at the Strategic Air Command Museum.

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Stratcom chapel stained glass

The Offutt Air Force Base chapel features many stained glass windows adorned with Strategic Command insignia.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Stained glass 2

Another stained glass window at the Offutt Air Force Base chapel.

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Field house

Now a huge military gym, this field house was once a factory where Enola Gay, and Bockscar, the B-29 bombers that dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima, Japan and Nagasaki, Japan during World War II, were modified to be able to carry those nuclear weapons.

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Stratcom HQ

The front of current Stratcom headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base. Stratcom is currently building a huge new, $1 billion headquarters nearby.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Command section entrance

The entrance to the Command section at Stratcom headquarters. This is where the command's leadership, including current Commander C. Robert Kehler, work.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Stratcom intelligence entrance

There are several different security-enabled doors at the entrance to the security directorate at Stratcom headquarters, signalling that what goes on behind the doors is worth protecting.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:
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