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SecAF, AFGSC commander visit Malmstrom

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. (AFNS) -- Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Air Force Global Strike Commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson visited Malmstrom Air Force Base Feb. 19, to meet with Airmen, specifically those who deploy to the missile fields, and see benefits of the grass-roots feedback program known as the Force Improvement Program before the Nuclear Oversight Board at Minot AFB, North Dakota.

In a three-day span James visited five different northern tier bases, three of which fall under AFGSC. During her time here, James held an all call with 440 of Malmstrom AFB’s Airmen.

"The entirety of our leadership is 100 percent behind making holistic changes to our nuclear enterprise and staying the course until we get it done," James said. "Listening to the ideas that many of you brought forth in the field helped us develop a way forward to improve all aspects of how the nuclear mission is accomplished.

Everything from the training you receive to the environment that you work in. I am back here today for one sole reason and that is to check up on progress," she added.

James discussed the focus on the nuclear triad and the nuclear mission being a top priority. She reminded everyone that their concerns are relevant and being listened to by senior leadership.

"The FIP is not a one-shot deal, it is going to be refreshed and we are going to continue to look at issues," James said. "It is a philosophy of continuous improvement."

"Things may never be perfect, but at a time when we are still in such a tough budget environment and so many parts of our Air Force are feeling such a squeeze, this is an area where we are committed to making improvements," she said.

The president's 2016 budget allocates $5.6 billion in improvements to the nuclear enterprise over the next five years, including modernization of existing Minuteman III platforms, recapitalization of weapon storage areas into weapon storage facilities and replacement of the helicopter fleet.

James concluded her all call answering Airmen's questions, which included seeking out mental health treatment and career impacts, civilian furloughs versus FIP initiatives and changes among the perceptions of career fields within the nuclear enterprise.

In an effort to sustain the FIP in a philosophy of continuous improvement both James and Wilson are invested in fixing problems that are identified and letting Airmen know they are paying attention.