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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

90th Space Wing [90th SW]

The 90th Space Wing was activated July 1, 1963 with the original designation of the 90th Strategic Missile Wing. F.E. Warren AFB became the nation's first operational ICBM base with the introduction of the Atlas missile in 1958.

The mission of the 90th Space Wing is to defend America with the world's most powerful combat ready ICBM force. The 90th Space Wing is the nation's largest and most modern strategic missile unit. The 90th Space Wing operates, protects, maintains and supports 150 Minuteman III and 50 Peacekeeper missles at 20 missile alert facilities deployed over 12,600 square miles.

The Wing also provides road mobile, survivable and endurable command, control, communications and base support capability to the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Space Command.

The 90th SW employs about 3,525 military personnel, and 570 civilian employees. Family members of assigned military personnel add another 4,400 to the local population. Also, some 5,000 military retirees reside in the area. The 90th SW operates on an annual budget of $65.9 million.

The 90th Strategic Missile Wing was activated on 01 July 1963, when Strategic Air Command organized the first wing dedicated solely to intercontinental ballistic missile operations. Atlas D and E missile sites in eastern Wyoming, western Nebraska, and northern Colorado were placed under the command and control of F.E. Warren.

In the early 1960s, 200 Minuteman I missiles replaced the Atlas. Unlike previous weapon systems, these had the capability of being fired from hardened and widely-dispersed underground silo launchers. The first Minuteman missiles deployed at F.E. Warren AFB were the "B" models, which contained one warhead. These missiles incorporated significant advances beyond the liquid-fueled, remote-controlled Atlas missiles.

From the start, Minuteman missiles have provided a quick-reacting, inertially-guided, highly-survivable component to America's strategic triad. Today's Minuteman III weapon system is the product of almost 30 years of continuous enhancement. The Minuteman III, which can carry a maximum of three warheads, replaced the Minuteman I in 1975. The Minuteman II missile was never deployed at F.E. Warren AFB.

In 1988, 50 Peacekeeper missiles were brought on alert in modified Minuteman III missile silos. The Peacekeeper, the most powerful ICBM in the world, is capable of delivering 10 independently-targeted warheads with greater accuracy than any other ballistic missile. Its deployment fulfilled a key goal of the strategic modernization program and added strength and credibility to the ground-based leg of the strategic triad of the United States.

The Minuteman III and Peacekeeper missiles are deployed over a 12,600-square mile area in three states: eastern Wyoming, western Nebraska and northern Colorado. They are dispersed in hardened silos to protect against attack and connected to 20 underground missile alert facilities through a system of hardened cables. Launch crews consisting of two officers perform around-the-clock alert in the centers. A variety of communication systems provide the National Command Authorities with highly reliable, virtually instantaneous and direct contact with each launch crew.

Following the Cold War, the Air Force began restructuring and downsizing in 1992. Strategic Air Command (SAC) and Tactical Air Command (TAC) were inactivated June 1, 1992, and former elements, including the 90th Space Wing at F.E. Warren AFB, were aligned under the new Air Combat Command (ACC), headquartered at Langley AFB, VA.

On July 1, 1993, the 20th Air Force, headquarters for all U.S. ICBM operations (including the 90th Space Wing), was realigned under Air Force Space Command (AFSPC), headquartered at Peterson AFB, CO.

The 90th Space Wing was selected as the first missile base to upgrade Minuteman III Launch Control Centers (LCC's) with the Rapid Execution and Combat Targeting (REACT) modification. Existing LCC's had not been upgraded significantly since being brought on line in the early 1960's. REACT replaced the outdated command and control consoles with a single, integrated state of the art, computer processing console. Major improvements in automation allow combat crews to more rapidly process message traffic and carry out execution orders if needed. The REACT and other planned modernization programs will ensure that the Minuteman III system will be a formidable weapons system well into the 21st Century.

The 90th Operations Group provides over 1,500 combat-ready personnel on continuous alert to operate, protect, maintain, and support 200 ICBMs and 20 missile alert facilities deployed over 12,600 square miles and provides the North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Space Command Consolidate Command Center with road mobile, survivable, and endurable command, control, and communications, and base support capability.

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Page last modified: 24-07-2011 03:40:45 ZULU