Task Force 21, Minot's base retention committee, is focusing much of its first six months of work this year on Global Strike Command, the new nuclear command, said Peter Zimmerman, the new chairman of Task Force 21.
"The majority of our time in 2009, at least the first six months of the year, will be spent on Global Strike, which all of you probably read in The Minot Daily News Minot is one of six locations being considered as the new command (headquarters) for Global Strike," Zimmerman told members of the Minot Lions Club.
Zimmerman spoke Monday to the group during its meeting in the Holiday Inn Riverside.
Zimmerman recently replaced Mark Jantzer as Task Force 21 chairman. Jantzer held that position the past 12 years. However, Jantzer remains active on the task force as its government relations specialist.
After incidents with missiles being flown across the U.S. and some missile parts ending up in Taiwan, Zimmerman said the Air Force created a new major command called Global Strike that will handle all of the nuclear aspects.
He said the new command will have around 600 to 800 people.
"Where it will end up is anyone's guess," he said.
Right now, he said a temporary command has been set up at Bolling AFB just outside Washington, D.C., but the permanent location for the command is to be selected by June.
"(We're) putting together community profile information the base commander obviously is the lead on this but we want to get our story told from the community standpoint. Not that a lot of people in the Air Force don't know where Minot is or what Minot is, but we want to make sure they have all the facts on our community," Zimmerman said.
"There's a perception out there that there's no housing in Minot... There's also a story that needs to be told that there's a lot of people looking to or have plans to build apartments this spring and next summer. We just want to make sure that the right information is out there and we're not as a community being sold short on what we can offer a major command," he said.
He said another major issue that the task force is following is housing privatization and utility privatization.
"The Air Force and the U.S. military, obviously the United States, is having some financial issues so the Air Force has gone to housing privatization," Zimmerman said. "What they are doing is leasing base housing to contractors for 50 years. The contractor then is responsible for the upkeep, maintenance and replacement of those houses.
"We at Minot don't necessarily want to be included in a large package of bases simply because all our housing is new so we're not sure if privatization is going to happen both with housing and utilities. We just don't know a timeline for sure yet and whether Minot will be a separate package or be included in a larger package," Zimmerman said.
"Obviously, we're trying to support the base in any way that we can," Zimmerman said.
He said the task force also is gathering information for the second squadron of B-52s coming to the base. He said that information includes on housing and what there is to do in Minot. He said there's also new dorm issues.
"They're short dormitories out at the base we're trying to help out with that in any way that we can," he said.
He said the task force also is monitoring the current stimulus bill making its way through Congress.
"There's a lot of money in that bill for new military construction. The civil engineer unit out at Minot Air Force Base provided a list of what they call 'shovel-ready projects' for Minot which may or may not be funded through the stimulus package," he said.