Senators: 'No better place than Malmstrom' for new nuclear command center

Baucus, Tester put Air Force base on list of possible locations for new facility

(BILLINGS, Mont.) – Montana’s U.S. Senators today asked the Air Force to add Malmstrom Air Force Base to the list of possible locations for a new command center to oversee the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

The Air Force recently decided to consolidate control of the nation’s nuclear missions under one command center. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester today told Air Force Secretary Michael Donley they can “think of no better place than Malmstrom,” citing the base’s personnel and existing facilities.

Malmstrom Air Force Base, in Great Falls, is home to the 341st Space Wing, which oversees the security, maintenance and readiness of 150 long-range nuclear missiles housed in underground silos across north-central Montana.

“Hosting the headquarters at a base with a nuclear mission will allow the Airmen and women who serve in the affiliated Wings to see the value of their service and the potential for significant career advancement firsthand,” Baucus and Tester told Donley. “We also believe that the headquarters should be located at a base that receives consistently strong support from the neighboring community.”

The Senators also noted Malmstrom’s current expansion of family housing units, its existing telecommunications infrastructure, its room for expansion and its location just outside the City of Great Falls.

In response to a request by Baucus and Tester, Secretary Donley visited Great Falls in August, touring Malmstrom and the Montana Air National Guard.

During the visit both Senators again urged Donley to assign a second mission to Malmstrom, which has been part of the Great Falls community since World War II. The base is home to nearly 5,000 airmen and civilian employees.