Air Force release draft environmental assessment for GBSD testing phase

The Air Force has released the draft environmental assessment, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act, to evaluate potential environmental effects associated with the implementation of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent test program.

The GBSD program would modernize the aging U.S. land-based intercontinental ballistic missile Minuteman III system.

The Air Force is planning to replace all 1970s Minuteman III ICBM weapons systems with the currently being developed GBSD system.

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Test program-related actions would primarily occur at Hill Air Force Base in Utah and at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, according to an Air Force release.

Tests would include conducting missile launches from Vandenberg with flights over the Pacific Ocean in the Western Test Range, according to the Air Force.

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The GBSD and Minuteman III test demonstrations are proposed to occur at U.S. Army Garrison–Kwajalein Atoll and within the Republic of the Marshall Islands territorial waters. The analysis of overseas environmental impacts is also included in the assessment. Test activities would comply with the U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll environmental standards, according to the Air Force.

Additional test support activities would occur at U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground in Utah.

The environmental assessment also includes analysis of the proposed GBSD Formal Training Unit/Schoolhouse at Vandenberg.

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The Draft GBSD Test Program environmental assessment and Draft Finding of No Significant Impact, or FONSI, are available at for public comment.

Public comments will be accepted through March 22 and can be provided in either of the following ways:

  • email comments by March 22 to
  • mail comments, postmarked no later than March 22 to: USASMDC, ATTN: SMDC-EN (D. Hasley), P.O. Box 1500, Huntsville, AL 35807

In September, the Air Force awarded a $13.3 billion contract to Northrop Grumman for the engineering and manufacturing development of GBSD.

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The project includes modernizing and replacing all launch facilities, communication systems, infrastructure, and technologies as necessary to support the GBSD system, according to the Air Force’s notice.

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Malmstrom Air Force Base is set to be the second missile base to get the new system, according to the Secretary of the Air Force. F.E. Warren AFB in Wyoming is scheduled as the first base and Minot in North Dakota is scheduled third.

Additional maintenance, training, storage, testing, support, decommissioning, and disposal actions would occur at Hill AFB and the Utah Test and Training Range in Utah; Camp Guernsey in Wyoming; and Camp Navajo in Arizona.