Defenders repurpose assets to ensure nuclear surety

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jacob M. Thompson and Staff Sgt. Lauren O’Connor
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
Missile security forces defenders are charged with protecting our nation’s assets against all enemies, foreign and domestic. One way they maintain readiness is through training.

Recently, the 841st Missile Security Forces Squadron at Malmstrom Air Force Base, innovated the way they conduct recapture and recovery training.

"Sharpening our competitive edge in this new age will require creative approaches, innovation, resources and execution at the speed of relevance,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson.

The 841st MSFS collaborated with missile maintainers to share one of their training tools, the T-41 trainer. The trainer is a realistic, one-to-one replica of the launch facilities throughout the missile field and used by missile maintainers. This replica provides the squadron an opportunity to train in an environment similar to a response to a real-world threat.

The training simulates the same scenario these Airmen would face in the missile field under a real-life recapture and recovery situation, said Tech. Sgt. Daniel Seifert, 841st MSFS A-flight sergeant.

Recapture entails using force to take back control of a nuclear weapon if an adversary takes control of the weapon, Seifert said. Recovery happens by teams going out and recovering the weapon if it is stolen.

“(This training) helps our nuclear deterrence mission; it gives us and our allies confidence that we are good stewards of nuclear weapons in the Air Force and security forces, not just (at) Malmstrom but the entire (nuclear) triad,” said Seifert.

The nuclear triad is a compilation of platforms and weapons that serve as the backbone of America’s national security. The triad consists of submarine-launched ballistic missiles, air-launched cruise missiles and intercontinental ballistic missiles across the Department of Defense.

Malmstrom AFB hosts the largest ICBM fleet in the United States and protecting these assets directly support the National Defense Strategy objective of dissuading, preventing or deterring state adversaries and non-state actors from acquiring, proliferating or using weapons of mass destruction.

“There is no substitute for the prospect of a devastating nuclear response,” said Gen. Paul J. Selva, Joint Chiefs of Staff vice chairman.

The triad, along with assigned forces, provides 24/7 deterrence to prevent catastrophic actions from our adversaries and they stand ready, if necessary, to deliver a decisive response, anywhere, anytime. Malmstrom AFB defenders are reimagining the way they train to increase their lethality in the event they are called upon to serve and protect.

“The surest way to prevent war is to be prepared for it,” said Gen. John E. Hyten, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command.