The force multiplier to nuclear deterrence

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Raymond Davis
  • 341st Contracting Squadron

A frigid drop in temperature has come to the town of Great Falls, Montana, and the surrounding areas. The standing temperature dropped into the double-digit negatives with wind chills lowering it even further, at times reaching -45 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Though these temperatures are enough to shut down work for most civilian businesses, the Strategic Deterrence mission carried out on Malmstrom Air Force Base and its missile field complex remains fully operational, thanks, in part, to the 341st Contracting Squadron.

Whether units need cold weather gear or are constructing/renovating training areas, the 341st Contracting Squadron ensures they have what they need to keep the mission going. 

The 37-person team supports the entirety of the base and its 13,800 square mile missile complex. These civilian, enlisted and officer Airmen are a small yet highly talented force, often referred to as mission focused business leaders (MFBLs) and change agents.

“We are mission-focused business leaders because we lead the business solutions that make this installation run,” said Maj. Sam Trujillo, 341 CS commander. “We are change agents here because ‘accelerate change or lose’ is always at the forefront of our minds.

"Our teaming mindset is also a trademark strength we possess. We can quickly team up with America’s expansive commercial and defense industries to turn capability into an extension of Team Malmstrom’s arsenal, any time, any day.”  

Jayce Blood, 341 CS director of business operations, focuses on enabling the contracting mission, so their partners can perform their jobs without pulling manpower away. 

“When you look at what we do for the people here on base, it is awesome,” said Blood. “Our service and commodities’ portfolio is extremely impressive and probably our largest enabler of the mission here.”

 The contracts included in the portfolio are the purchasing of cold weather gear for units on base, custodial services and cultural relations projects.

“We are a conduit between industry and the government.  We make business decisions to effectively boost the base’s mission capability,” said Blood.  

The base custodial service contract saves the base 38,500 man-hours a year. 

“Being the only people on the base who can legally spend the government’s money, we can do a lot,” said 1st Lt. Devan Ortiz, 341 CS services and commodities flight commander. “With our job, we were able to acquire cold weather gear for the members of our Security Forces Group to keep them in the fight and on missile field defense during these cold winter months.  We also get tools and vehicles to 341 CES and 819 RED HORSE so they can do their jobs and have an elevator maintenance contract to ensure the elevators on the missile alert facilities stay working.”

This project also helps streamline Malmstrom’s part in the implementation of the Sentinel program. By working with Native American tribes in Montana, the contracting team is aiding in the implementation of the next Air Force intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program. 

The contracting squadron not only delivers new equipment to the base, but they also do a considerable amount of work to build, demo, renovate, and maintain buildings on base as well as in the missile field. 

Collen Goad, 341 CS construction flight section supervisor, has had a hand in a number of these projects. 

“It is very important to make sure that Malmstrom is ready to bed-down these new platforms, and this includes making sure our facilities are up to par," said Goad. "This includes a repair airfield paving and lighting contract on our flight line to make sure it’s ready for use and renovating a hanger that will store the helicopters.”

Recently, there has also been a $90 million architect and engineer multiple award construction contract (MACC) implemented, allowing Malmstrom to receive designs more quickly and easily from a variety of A&E firms.

At the end of the day, the American population is able to have the peace of mind that the nuclear deterrence mission carried out at Malmstrom continues to be as resilient as it is thanks, in part, to the support delivered by the 341st Contracting Squadron.