by Airman 1st Class Collin Schmidt
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
3/27/2015 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Maintaining
the nuclear triad requires an enormous amount of manpower, technology,
skill and determination. For Air Force Global Strike Command, the
mission of sustaining the land-based leg of this nuclear defense hails
as one of the most challenging and important undertakings, aside from
providing the nuclear deterrence itself.
As part of this maintenance, AFGSC conducts intercontinental ballistic
missile operational tests and evaluation on an annual basis to ensure
system readiness. Components are put through a rigorous series of checks
to ensure maximum operability.
One such test is a Simulated Electronic Launch Minuteman, which provides the most in-depth assessment of a deployed ICBM system.
"SELM provides the most complete test of the deployed ICBM force from
crew commit actions through issuance of the Minuteman first stage
ignition signal," said Lt. Col. Scott Fleming, 490th Missile Squadron
assistant director of operations.
For Malmstrom AFB, preparation for the successful launch of the
installation's upcoming SELM, designated GP 15-1M, has been months in
"Two SELMs are conducted each year, with each of the three ICBM bases
conducting one approximately every other year," said Fleming. "Testing
typically occurs over two test days where crews from both launch control
centers and the airborne launch control system validate their
For a complete evaluation of these missile systems, data from
operational test launches at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., and SELM tests in
the command's missile fields is combined and reviewed.
The success of these tests is a direct result of the hard work of Airmen
throughout the command. From the men and women in the field setting up
the groundwork for a test to be launched, all the way up to the
commanders coordinating assets and manpower, every individual is a
"Success of a SELM directly falls on the backs of our Airmen and the
hard work they put into this effort," said Fleming. "A successful SELM
can only take place after a great deal of work is done, well in advance
of the specific test dates."
As Airmen at Malmstrom partner with personnel from the 576th Flight Test
Squadron from Vandenburg, the planning, training and myriad of logistic
details bring us ever closer to the completion this very important
undertaking, he said.
"Together, our Wing One maintainers, defenders, operators and support personnel have us ready for GP 15-1M," said Fleming.