Tester Statement on Air Force Secretary Visit to Malmstrom

Senator and Secretary Kendall spoke at length earlier this month about Malmstrom’s strategic importance

U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, released the following statement on Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall’s tour of Malmstrom Air Force Base today. Secretary Kendall’s visit comes after Chairman Tester spoke with him at length earlier this month and invited him to tour the Great Falls installation.

“I’m pleased that Air Force Secretary Kendall took me up on my invitation to tour Malmstrom Air Force Base so he can see firsthand the critical role the installation plays in our national defense. As the Defense Subcommittee Chairman, I will keep working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make sure our airmen and women at Malmstrom have the tools and resources they need to do their job and defend the United States.”

This month, the Senate passed key defense priorities spearheaded by Chairman Jon Tester as a part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022 to support Montana’s military installations, servicemembers, and military families. These priorities include a 2.7 percent servicemember pay raise, new funding for the Montana National Guard, $91 million for MH-139 Grey Wolf Helicopters at Malmstrom, and $2.5 billion for the continued development of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent to replace the aging Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs).

Earlier this year, Chairman Tester hosted General Charles Brown, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and General Timothy Ray, Commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, for a tour of Malmstrom Air Force Base, which included an inspection of a Minuteman III silo, a briefing on the operational status of the ground-based leg of America’s nuclear Triad, a tour and briefing on the Wing Operations Center, and a demonstration by Malmstrom’s Tactical Response Force, among other events. Additionally, Tester met with Malmstrom’s airmen and women as well as the Montana Air National Guard to discuss what Congress can do to better support their mission of safeguarding Montana and defending America’s national security.

Tester took the gavel of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee in January. The Subcommitee is responsible for providing more than $720 billion annually to the Department of Defense and related agencies. This is more than 95 percent of the military’s yearly budget, and includes matters ranging from pay and benefits for millions of service members and civilians to the development of advanced technologies and next-generation weapons. The Subcommittee also oversees funding for nearly all major U.S. intelligence agencies.