Malmstrom Air Force Base's nuclear missiles are the 'centerpiece of America's defense strategy,' Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus told the Air Force's top Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) official today.
After speaking before a briefing organized by their bipartisan Senate ICBM Coalition earlier this month, Tester and Baucus picked up where they left off in today's meeting with Lieutenant General James Kowalski, who heads the Air Force's Global Strike Command.
The senators reminded Kowalski that Malmstrom's Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles are the most cost-effective part of the nation's nuclear deterrent. Malmstrom Air Force Base, in Great Falls, maintains and secures 150 ICBMs across north-central Montana.
"Malmstrom's ICBMs keep our nation safe in a world where more countries are seeking nuclear capabilities," Tester said. "They're the centerpiece of our defense strategy and I made sure General Kowalski knows that I stand with Malmstrom and Great Falls' hard-working Airmen."
"A strong ICBM force is one of the best and most cost effective ways to help keep America safe, and there's no place better for them to remain secure than in Montana under the watch of our top notch Airmen," Baucus said. "I'm going to keep sending this message all the way up the chain of command to make sure folks in Washington get it loud and clear."
Kowalski told the senators that the Air Force plans to maintain all 450 ICBMs in the coming fiscal year. He also restated the Air Force's intent to modernize the missiles to last through 2030.
Malmstrom's ICBM mission accounts for more than 40 percent of the economy in north-central Montana and contributes to approximately 5,000 jobs.
Lieutenant General Kowalski is the commander of the Air Force's Global Strike Command, which maintains all U.S. ICBMs and nuclear-capable bomber forces.