NDAA will modernize and secure nuclear mission at Montana’s Malmstrom Air Force Base
U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today announced that he helped secure critical support for Montana’s Malmstrom Air Force Base in the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The legislation authorizes vital support for modernizing Malmstrom’s ground-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) infrastructure and replacing UH-1N Huey military helicopters at the base.
“This legislation is a win for Montana’s airmen and the Great Falls community,” said Daines. “Malmstrom Air Force Base plays a critical role in protecting our national security and maintaining our nation’s effective ‘peace through strength’ strategy. The NDAA will help bolster this vital mission by modernizing our nuclear defenses and replacing critical equipment at Malmstrom.”
The NDAA authorizes a $69.4 million increase for the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program, which is scheduled to replace the Missleman III missiles at Malmstrom, and requires the Air Force to increase staffing at the GBSD to ensure the project stays on schedule. The legislation also requires the Air Force to pursue a new maintenance vehicle for the Minuteman III to reduce cost and labor impacts on the enlisted force.
Additionally, the NDAA authorizes the full funding of the UH-1N Huey replacement at the President’s requested level of $288 million, and provides greater flexibility for the Department of Defense to conduct research on elements of the nation’s nuclear triad system, of which Malmstrom’s ICBM mission is a key component.
On May 17, 2018, during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense hearing on the Department of the Air Force budget, Daines urged Heather Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force, to consider Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls as a future base for the B-21 bomber. He also requested an update on the plan to replace Montana’s aging UH-1N helicopters.
On March 5, 2018, Daines wrote a letter to Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, expressing concerns about the timeline for the replacements of the UH-1N Huey helicopter fleet.
On May 16, 2017, Daines wrote a letter to Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, requesting her to make sure replacements for Malmstom’s Minuteman III missiles were on time and on budget.
On May 11, 2016, following a meeting with U.S. Air Force Secretary Deborah James, U.S. Senator Steve Daines announced that the Air Force will be going with the slowest proposed route to replace the Vietnam-era UH-1Ns that provide security for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base.
On April 27, 2016, Daines pressed Department of Defense Secretary Ash Carter on the timeline to upgrade Vietnam-era UH-1N helicopters to provide much-needed security for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) stationed at Malmstron Air Force Base (AFB).
On March 18, 2016, Daines led eight Senators in calling on the Air Force to expedite their decision on the course of action to replace Vietnam–era UH-1N helicopters that provide security for our nuclear weapons.
On August 23, 2015, Daines urged the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack to reverse the USDA’s prohibition on the use of UH-1H helicopters to combat Montana wildfires.