MINOT AIR FORCE BASE Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James says Minot Air Force Base will be getting about one-third of the 1,100 people that the Air Force will be redeploying from other areas of the Air Force to add personnel at bases with the nuclear enterprise.
Minot AFB is the only base in America with two nuclear-capable wings the 5th Bomb Wing with its B-52 bombers and the 91st Missile Wing with 150 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles in the Minot missile field. James, at a news conference Tuesday at the Minot base, said in the recent review of the nation's nuclear enterprise it was discovered there was not a full complement of manpower that is needed at Minot AFB or at the other key bases.
"By the way, that is not unusual. That is part and partial of the budget cuts and the tough budget that we're facing in the Air Force," James said. She said nuclear is number one and it has to be backed up with action.
Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, right, talks to local media Tuesday afternoon at Minot Air Force Base following a visit to the base. At the left is Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command at Barksdale AFB, La. James has been visiting bases in the command this week, mainly the missile bases.
"We've decided that we are going to redeploy 1,100 people, take them from other parts of our Air Force and put them here at our three key bases," James said.
She continued, "For Minot, roughly think about a third of those people would be enroute coming here to Minot. They're not here yet. They'll begin to arrive probably in the November timeframe and full complement would probably be here around the January/February timeframe."
"This is going to allow us to get the manning levels up, particularly when it comes to eight critical specialties in the nuclear world. So we think that will be a positive thing to alleviate some of the workload that people have been putting in a great deal of overtime," she said.
Maj. Gen. Jack Weinstein, commander of 20th Air Force, who visited Minot AFB last week, said the additional people for the ICBM mission at the three bases include for operations, helicopter pilots, security forces and missile maintenance. Weinstein is responsible for the ICBM force, including at Minot AFB, Malmstrom AFB, Mont., and F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo.
The Air Force recently launched its Force Improvement Program to strengthen the Air Force's nuclear mission.
For more of the news conference with James, see the Saturday edition of The Minot Daily News.