Senators: Air Force will study potential partnership between MANG and Malmstrom

Baucus, Tester Hail Bill That Will Boost Military Personnel, Vets

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Following the Senate’s passage today of the Defense Authorization Act, Montana Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester announced that the Air Force will study a potential partnership between the Montana Air National Guard and Malmstrom Air Force Base.

The senators wrote and included a provision in the bill that requires the U.S. Air Force to look into the feasibility of establishing an “active association” with MANG before the military deactivates the last 10 Minuteman III missiles in the 564th Missile Squadron.


Earlier this year, the Pentagon began to make good on its 2005 plan to deactivate the 50-missle squadron earlier this year, cutting Malmstrom’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile arsenal from 200 to 150. Both Baucus and Tester vigorously opposed the deactivation of the 564th Missile Squadron and have vowed to continue searching for a second mission for Malmstrom.


Baucus and Tester believe that the most likely active association arrangement would increase the number of MANG F-15s in the 120th Fighter Wing from 15 to 24.  The additional pilots and mechanics required by an active association would bring an estimated 100 new good-paying jobs to Great Falls


“This is great news for our military personnel in Montana and across the country,” Baucus said.  “This bill will help our brave men and women have the resources they need to do their jobs efficiently and effectively. I’m committed to working together with Jon and the Air Force to make sure the study is conducted and that we work on ways to keep Montana front and center in our nation’s military assignments at home and abroad.”


“Today’s action is a step in the right direction,” Tester said.  “Max and I are working to bring new good-paying jobs to the Electric City while improving our national security.  We’re committed to working together to ensure that Montana plays a prominent role in our nation’s military operations for years to come.”


The DoD Authorization Act is an operating blueprint for fiscal year 2008. There were several provisions in particular in the bill that Baucus and Tester said will be beneficial for Montana’s military men and women:


·        3.5 percent across-the-board pay raise for military personnel – goes into effect January 1, 2008

·        $980 million to help improve depleted Guard and Reserve equipment stocks

·        Establishes Wounded Warrior Resource Center – will serve as a single point of contact for service personnel, family members, and caregivers to report issues with facilities, obtain care, and receive benefits information. The senators said this will be a great new resource for veterans.

·        $11.8 for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAP) – will help provide protection for military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.


The senators said the bill is now headed to the President’s desk for his expected signature.