841st Missile Security Squadron activated at Malmstrom in new missile security strucutre
The 841st Missile Security Squadron held an activation ceremony at Malmstrom Air Force Base on Tuesday.
The unit was officially activated in early October after a yearlong test of the Missile Security Operations Concept was conducted at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.
Twentieth Air Force, the parent organization to Malmstrom, Minot and F.E. Warren AFB in Wyoming, implemented the new missile security structure on Oct. 6.
Previously, there were two missile security squadrons operating in Malmstrom’s 13,800 square foot missile complex, each with a different schedule so units never had all their members at home station at the same time.
The new structure adds the 841st to the mix, making three squadrons operating in the missile field and Maj. Christopher Thompson said the squadrons will deploy to the missile field as a full unit.
That allows for greater unit cohesion and better quality of life for the security forces airmen, Thompson said.
The missile security airmen are a “band of guardians,” Thompson said. “We stand guard against the only truly existential threat to our way of life.”
He said there was an Air Force-wide effort to reinvigorate squadrons and this is one way the missile bases were achieving that.
The previous structure, Thompson said, had a lot of unpredictability in the schedule. The new MSOC allows airmen a predictable schedule so they can better plan their lives and spend more time with their families, but the number of people posting to the missile field hasn’t changed.
The missile security airmen are on a 21-day rotation, with each doing a 4-day tour in the missile field, three days of training; a 5-day tour in the field and nine days off, Thompson said.
The MSOC structure was implemented as a way to improve the defender culture, according to 20th Air Force.
The security forces groups at each ICBM base stood up an additional missile security forces squadron.
“The most significant change under MSOC is that missile complex security shifts from being group commander led to squadron commander led,” said Col. Jason Beers, 91st SFG commander at Minot. “The entire responsibility for daily security belongs to one squadron commander for their tour. Instead of 900 personnel, squadrons now have more manageable sizes. This change places authority and responsibility at the correct level, enables increased supervision and focuses on developing and caring for Airmen and their families, which directly leads to a more lethal and ready force.”
Missile complex security involves missile field security, maintenance support, tactical response forces and missile security control. Under the previous structure, the airmen qualified for each of those duties were organized under different units.
Under MSOC, each missile security squadron will now be able to meet all of the missile field security requirements. Squadrons will now train all defenders on specialty skillsets, making them a more combat-capable, lethal force, according to 20th Air Force.
During the test at Minot AFB, Beers said the 91st Security Forces Group tracked an average of 32,000 less miles traveled, reduced wear and tear on vehicles and increased work-hour availability.