FIP Beginning to be Felt at Nuke Bases

Minot AFB, N.D. Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s miniature tour of the Air Force’s nuclear infrastructure kicked off at Minot AFB, N.D., a base that is home to two legs of the nuclear triad and has seen modest improvements under the service’s push to revamp its nuclear community. Decades of underinvestment in the nuclear community led to out-of-date facilities and related low morale in the nuclear career fields. Since Air Force Global Strike Command’s Force Improvement Program launched in February 2014, there’s been increased spending on quality of life improvements and infrastructure that is needed. During a speech to airmen at Minot, Carter highlighted these investments: a repaired runway, expanded childcare options, 24/7 fitness centers. “It’s created new incentive pay and special assignment duty pay for military personnel,” Carter said. “It’s helped increase locality pay rates for civilians. And importantly, it reflects how we’re taking steps to replace the helicopters that help ensure our ICBMs are secure.” Airmen with the 91st Security Forces Group here have seen a few increases in quality of life since the FIP, including new Operational Camouflage Pattern uniforms, Advanced Combat Optical Gunsights for M-4s, and improved plates and protective vests. Security forces airmen have seen increased specialty pay, since they spend extended amounts of times deployed to missile alert facilities across the service’s sprawling missile bases. There is still room for some quality of life improvements, especially on some things that aren’t really considered on the policy level. Lt. Col. Jared Nelson, commander of the 742nd Missile Squadron at Minot, said one improvement he’d like to see is new chairs in the missile facilities. The missile facilities, and cushioning of the chairs, dates back more than 50 years.