Montana Defense Alliance (MTDA) and Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee members met for MTDA's annual lunch meeting at the Great Falls International Airport to discuss military matters within the state and the work the alliance has accomplished over the year.
MTDA chair David Weissman says the Alliance has been working closely with representatives and politicians to track funding for ground based strategic deterrent, or GBSD.
GBSD would upgrade the Minuteman III (land-based) missile system, at Malmstrom, Minot and F.E. Warren Air Force Bases.
Keynote speaker and and retired USAF Lieutenant General Jim Kowalski talked about the need to upgrade our nation's nuclear deterrent forces.
Kowalski previously served as Commander of Air Force Global Strike Command and Deputy Commander of U.S. Strategic Command before retiring from duty in 2015.
He now works for Northrup Grumman, one of three companies competing for the government contract to upgrade the land-based missile system.
Kowalski says the company has been developing intercontinental ballistic missiles since the start of the U.S. Ballistic Missile Program in the 1950's, has been the primary integrator for the current minute man 3 since the 90's and is currently working on all ground support systems.
He says the need for upgrades comes as modern threats continue to develop.
"The need for deterrents has become incredibly more complex than it was in the much simpler days of the Cold War and the threats against the systems themselves and our nation have become more complex.
Weissman says the meeting also discussed the October 1st budget deadline for Congress. He says the Alliance would like to see more certainty in the budget regarding the military.
For more information on the Montana Defense Alliance, visit http://montanadefensealliance.org/.
For more on Jim Kowalski's career, visit http://www.af.mil/About-Us/Biographies/Display/Article/107901/lieutenant-general-james-m-kowalski/.