Last year when the Montana Congressional delegation realized that a unit of Minuteman ICBMs likely would be cut from Malmstrom AFB, Mont., they began working with military officials on potential alternative missions. Now that the Malmstrom reduction seems a certainty (see above), they have vowed to fight the decision but also will continue the hunt for a new mission. The Great Falls Tribune reports that Democratic Sen. Max Baucus finds the Air Force “report weak on reasons to eliminate the 50 missiles.” He plans to ask USAF “tough questions” about the security impact. Republican Rep. Denny Rehbert told the Great Falls newspaper that the Montana delegation plans to enlist the help of the other missile states in addressing the USAF report. And, freshman Democratic Sen. Jon Tester declared to the Tribune, “Max, Denny, and I will work to make sure those missiles stay put.” Meanwhile, all three are working new mission possibilities, including unmanned aerial vehicles.
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S. The bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.