The Air Force plans in March to send officials to Malmstrom AFB, Mont., to evaluate the ability of the installation to take on a new mission—possibly even aircraft. It would not be a USAF unit, rather one under the Department of Homeland Security, according to the Helena (Mont.) Independent-Reporter. Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) secured the USAF commitment to conduct an “attributes study,” saying it took “five meetings on this subject” over a two-week period. An optimistic Burns noted than in March the USAF team would agree that “Malmstrom is a first-class facility.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.