F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --
Providing the nation with a credible, reliable ICBM force requires the skills and expertise of several military units working together to execute nuclear deterrence every single day.
Charged with ensuring a certain number of U.S. missiles are deployed and on alert, Task Force 214, the warfighting component of 20th Air Force, provides the President of the United States the ability to launch the nation’s ground-based ICBM forces in support of national security.
“We are the information hub, ensuring critical information flows in and out of 20th AF and TF-214,” said Lt. Col. Justin McMillian, TF-214 director. “As opposed to focusing on one specific mission area, we have our aperture opened to all operations conducted within our 34,000 square-mile area of responsibility.”
To accomplish their mission, the task force regularly engages with the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron to establish complete oversight of ICBM warfighter operations. Together, the two units de-conflict operations across four wings and three direct reporting units.
A prime example of this coordination was during a recent Simulated Electronic Launch-Minuteman, conducted at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. The event tested the readiness of the Minuteman III weapon system by performing a simulated launch from an alert aircraft.
TF-214 conducted the long-term planning for the operation which allowed the 625th STOS to test a select launch facility’s ability to accept launch commands from the Airborne Command Post, a Navy E-6B aircraft.
The ABNCP is one of the primary responsibilities of the 625th STOS which is located at Offutt AFB, Nebraska. The aircraft is manned by an eight-member crew which provides ICBM launch execution from any of the three missile wings.
“We provide training and combat forces for two crew positions on board the ABNCP,” said Lt. Col. Deane Konowicz, 625th STOS commander. “Flying as integral members of the battle staff, the crewmembers provide a survivable means to launch the nation’s ICBM forces.”
TF-214 tracked daily operations before, during and after the SELM, McMillian said. This oversight allowed for a coordinated and well planned event which provided necessary information to ensure weapon system reliability, availability and effectiveness.
Increasing professional development opportunities for Airmen executing the ICBM mission is an important initiative for 20th AF, a role the 625th STOS also has a hand in. Missileers can experience an alert aboard the ABNCP as an effort to highlight the complete readiness of the weapons system and showcase future career opportunities to the 13N career field.
“We epitomize the 20th Air Force commander’s top priority of professional development by providing tours, briefings and trainings for multiple crew members,” Konowicz said. “We also provide training for command post maintainers and operators, thereby ensuring effectiveness of field units and positively impacting the missile crews who interface with the command post multiple times during an alert.”
TF-214 and the 625th STOS ensure missileers are poised and prepped to execute the ICBM mission safely, securely and effectively, and together assure allies while deterring adversaries through the survivability of the nation’s ICBM force.