GREAT FALLS – A former Malmstrom Air Force Base commander recently spoke with civic leaders about the importance of upgrading the Minuteman ICBM system.
Retired Major General Tom Deppe spent a total seven years based in Great Falls and commanded the 341st Missile Wing from 2000 to 2002
Deppe says the military is long overdue in modernizing the land-based missile system of the nuclear triad.
“We have to have a credible deterrent, which means we have to have a second strike capability to prevent them from even wanting to have a first strike,” Deppe said.
The current system was installed in the 1960’s during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The US Air Force is currently working on the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, which will replace the Minuteman system.
One year ago the Air Force awarded contracts to Boeing Company and Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation. In 2020, the US Air Force will pick one company who will move forward with the GBSD.
“I was here as a lieutenant, during the last big modification program here. The population grows considerably because you bring in a lot of workers,” Deppe noted.
Deppe says the nuclear mission is the most important mission the United States military has and this upgrade is long overdue.
-Margaret DeMarco reporting for MTN News