Senators pleased that Air Force long-term plans include MANG

Baucus, Tester Say Today’s News Is A Step In The Right Direction

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Following the announcement today by the U.S. Air Force about its long-term plans, Montana's U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester said that they are pleased the planning includes the Montana Air National Guard.

The Air Force released its "roadmap" – a long-term Air Force plan that projects as far into the future as 2025-2030. The plan outlines where new weapon systems might be based in the future.

The senators said the roadmap includes Great Falls International Airport among a list of, "U.S. locations considered as possible contributors to Global Power" and specifically listed Great Falls as a potential location for both the F-35A Lightning II and the F-22 Raptor flying missions.

"Today's news is really encouraging for Great Falls and our entire state," Baucus said. "One of my top priorities is to help position Montana to play a role in future military operations and today's announcement is a step in the right direction. I'll continue to work to help bring new missions to our state which will help create good-paying jobs and keep Montana at the forefront of military operations."

"It's good to see that The Montana Air National Guard is in the mix," Tester said.  "There's a long way to go, but I'll be advocating for the Montana Air Guard every day to make sure Montana stays on the Air Force's radar."

The senators noted that today's announcement is a first step and there still is a ways to go before anything is finalized. Before new missions are assigned, Congress and the White House have to sign off. Also, environmental impact studies would have to be conducted.

Out of the 272 Air Force and National Guard bases in the country, only 90 bases made the Air Force roadmap for potential new missions in the future, said Baucus and Tester.

"It's still a ways off before everything is finalized but it's good to see we made the first cut," the senators said. "We've discussed MANG with various high level officials and we're glad to see that all that Great Falls has to offer the Air Force is being noticed. We have premiere airspace and the best airmen in the country – we look forward to putting them both to good use."