Tester Pushes for Long-Term Certainty at Malmstrom Air Force Base
In Defense Hearing, Senator Pressures Administration to Deliver on ICBMs and Blackhawks
(U.S. Senate)-Senator Jon Tester today pushed senior Defense Department officials to ensure that Malmstrom Air Force Base continues to plays a critical role in our nation’s defense for decades to come.
During a Defense Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, Tester urged Administration officials to address any delays in developing the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent at Malmstrom, which is the next generation of ICBM weapons systems. Tester also pushed the officials to expedite the arrival of Malmstrom’s Blackhawk Helicopters to replace the Vietnam-era Huey helicopters currently in operation. Tester has previously expressed concerns that these aging helicopters pose a security risk because of limited capabilities, and that their replacement needs to be a top Pentagon priority.
“Malmstrom plays a critical role in keeping our nation safe and secure,” Tester said. “Families on base and throughout northcentral Montana want assurance that Malmstrom’s mission will be strengthened and remain robust for years to come.”
Last year, Tester helped secure the new fleet of helicopters, which are scheduled to arrive no later than 2019.
Last week, Tester successfully included funding in the 2017 Military Construction appropriations bill he co-authored for a new Missile Maintenance Dispatch facility that will allow Malmstrom to properly house the new fleet of helicopters. Previously, he successfully lobbied the Pentagon for inclusion of this project in its 2017 budget request.
Tester also secured $19.7 million for a new Air Force Tactical Response Force Alert Facility at Malmstrom that will be used to modernize its ICBM fleet.
Tester is a senior member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and the Ranking Member of the Senate Military Construction and Veterans’ Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees funding and construction of facilities at Malmstrom and other military bases across the world.