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Malmstrom Air Force Base embraces changes - KXLH.com | Helena, Montana

Malmstrom Air Force Base embraces changes

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David Weissman David Weissman
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    Malmstrom Missile OfficerMalmstrom Missile Officer
    GREAT FALLS - One year ago the military community was rocked when the news of a drug investigation and cheating scandal at Malmstrom Air Force Base came to light.But since then, the U.S. Air Force has implemented many new programs, and one grassroots approach is helping airmen voice their opinions about what needs to change in the nuclear mission."In the drug and test compromise case there were a hundred different of our operators who were investigated," Colonel Tom Wilcox said.First Lieutena...
    GREAT FALLS - One year ago the military community was rocked when the news of a drug investigation and cheating scandal at Malmstrom Air Force Base came to light.But since then, the U.S. Air Force has implemented many new programs, and one grassroots approach is helping airmen voice their opinions about what needs to change in the nuclear mission."In the drug and test compromise case there were a hundred different of our operators who were investigated," Colonel Tom Wilcox said.First Lieutena...
Over the last year Malmstrom Air Force Base has worked hard to change the culture that lead to the Air Force drug investigation and cheating scandal.

As part of the solution, the Air Force created the Force Improvement Program.

341st Missile Wing Commander Colonel Tom Wilcox says that the nuclear mission is getting the attention and the support that it needs.

"Last year FYI 14 budget, we came in normal base line budget about 80 million dollars. We finished the year with over 120 million dollars spent," Wilcox said.

FIP was the reason Malmstrom was able to spend that extra 40 million dollars on facility upgrades, equipment, and quality of life improvements for the airman.

"They are not just giving us the equipment. They are giving us the equipment and the subbasement trail," Wilcox said.

Civilians are also taking notice.  Montana Defense Alliance Chair David Weissman says the grassroots program is helping make the quality of life for the Airman better not only at work, but also in their personal lives.

"They've plussed up in the Security Forces, which is really an area that they needed to plus up in. That's helped solve some of the stress issues that were related in that department," Weissman said.

Security Forces are not the only ones being beefed up. The Air Force is adding 216 Airmen to help fill the gaps in staffing across the base.

The Air Force is also spending its own money on the nuclear mission by buying Malmstrom 43 new vehicles.

"They've also refocused on all the areas that will improve the quality of work life for our Airman," Weissman said.

Each component at Malmstrom has a different focus that needs to be worked on.

With the missleers it's re-organizing the program and focusing more on training.

"Maintenance: hey we need parts, we need supplies, we need equipment that works. You know defenders we need the right uniform for the job, which we have we are ordering those," Wilcox said.

Global Strike Command will deliver new uniforms to nearly 4000 Security Force members along with new gear to help them their jobs better.

"I might still be working with a piece of equipment that breaks a little more often but I know the new one's coming," Wilcox said.

Malmstrom is working hard with the Air Force on bringing in the new equipment, re-organizing different areas of the base and re-training the officers so there are no gaps when it comes to fixing problems.

"I think what's different from this one, is you got the FIP working form the grass roots level. Meeting the higher headquarters reports and every day we go, we make some good progress," Wilcox said.

Weissman says that the ICBM mission is very important because it has actually keeping more peace on the plant since it has been in place 52 years ago.

"I think he Air Force Global Strike Command is approaching culture change very positively and Colonel Wilcox is absolutely correct is does take time to get that new culture into the system," Weissman said.

Wilcox says that culture change does not happened over night and will take up to three to four years before the new culture is in place at Malmstrom.

"Every day that passes we get closer and every time we get something in that's tangible folks have more faith in the change that we are making,"
Wilcox said.

Malmstrom's number one job is to provide a safe and secure nuclear deterrent for the nation.

With that they keep moving forward as a unit to keep our country safe.

"Certainly the most important thing we can do from here moving forward is to definitely maintain the progress that's been made. Continually improve upon that progress and continually look for areas that will improve the airman's quality of life in their work life," Weissman said.

The Force Improvement Program is only the beginning of the changes that are being made and Colonel Wilcox says the positive changes will continue.

"Our goal is to keep that momentum going and make 2015 the year of Malmstrom,” Wilcox said.
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