Tester Invites Air Force Secretary to Montana Following Senate Confirmation

Senator encourages visit to address defense modernization efforts, Montana National Guard and housing challenges for Airmen at Malmstrom Air Force Base

Following his vote to confirm President Trump’s nominee to serve as Secretary of the Air Force, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is inviting Secretary Barbara Barrett to Great Falls to discuss critical United States Air Force priorities in Montana.

“Congratulations on your confirmation as the 25th Secretary of the United States Air Force,” wrote Tester. “You are taking the helm of one of our nation’s most important military institutions at a critical time, and I look forward to working closely with you on behalf of the Airmen in Montana and those deployed around the world. To that end, I invite you to visit Malmstrom Air Force Base and the Montana Air National Guard’s 120th Airlift Wing in Great Falls, and to meet personally with some of the men and women who work tirelessly to keep our nation secure.”

In his letter, Tester urged Secretary Barrett to visit the missile fields at Malmstrom Air Force Base to get a firsthand perspective of the base’s aging infrastructure needs and high operational tempo of units like the 819th and 219th REDHORSE. He also welcomed the Secretary to engage directly on efforts to address the housing challenges for service members at Malmstrom.

Additionally, he encouraged the Secretary to thoroughly review Montana Air National Guard’s aging fleet of C-130Hs: “These aging aircraft, many of which are currently deployed overseas, are in critical need of additional upgrades to prolong their lifespan and to ensure that they can carry out their missions safely and effectively. For decades, the men and women of the 120th have performed their mission with distinction, and it is imperative that they are provided the very best equipment and aircraft to do their jobs.”

Montana’s Malmstrom Air Force Base is one of only three military bases across the country that house Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). As the only member of the Montana delegation to serve on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Tester has continued to be a staunch advocate for the development of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program, which will ultimately modernize and replace the ICBM weapons system, including the Minuteman III.

Tester joined his Senate colleagues today voting 85-7 to confirm Barrett’s nomination.

Read the full letter to Secretary Barrett HERE.