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Sentinel Deployment & Minuteman III
Decommissioning and Disposal
Welcome to the Air Force’s Sentinel Deployment and Minuteman III Decommissioning and Disposal Project Environmental Permitting and Compliance information website. The Sentinel weapon system addressed in this website was formerly known as the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD). This website hosts all public facing information related to the project and is intended as a resource for sharing the most up to date information on the Sentinel Deployment for outside agencies, landowners affected by the project, and the general public. As the Sentinel project moves forward, this website will be updated with additional information and can be accessed anytime throughout the duration of the project.
The project includes replacing all land based MMIII ICBMs deployed in the continental United States with Sentinel ICBMs. All components of the MMIII missile would be replaced, including the three motors, two interstages, propulsion system rocket engine, and missile guidance set. The number, size, configuration, and design of the nuclear warheads provided by the Department of Energy would remain unchanged.
Q1: Why does the Air Force want to access my property?
The update from Minuteman III to the Sentinel ICBM requires upgrading existing launch centers and support facilities. The Air Force needs access to local property for environmental analysis, land surveys, and appraisals. The Air Force also needs access to local property to assess construction locations and to support construction and system deployment needs.
Q2: What will my property be used for?
Your property has the potential to either be used for utility corridors, temporary support sites adjacent to existing sites or as a location for a Sentinel communications tower.
Q3: What will happen if the Air Force determines it wants to use my property?
The Air Force is utilizing the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) as its purchasing agent. A USACE Realty Specialist will reach out to you in advance and provide detailed information regarding the desired amount and location of land to be used for the Sentinel program. After conducting an appraisal to determine the fair market value, the basis for just compensation, USACE may offer to purchase the necessary interest in your land to support Sentinel deployment.
Q4: How do you determine fair market value ?
Just compensation is generally construed to be the Fair Market value of the property. An approved appraisal is generally determined by an independent professional real estate appraiser in accordance with appropriate state and federal regulations. The Department of the Air Force, or its authorized representative, will use this real estate appraisal as a basis for establishing the value of any real estate interest.
Q5: Why my property? Why not go around?
The Air Force has taken every step trying to avoid using more private land than is necessary for completion of the Sentinel program. After exhausting all other options, the Air Force has found that the potential use of some private property is necessary for completion of Sentinel program needs. Additionally, the Air Force will use existing access to property it currently owns to the maximum extent possible. However, there may be circumstances that require the Air Force to re-route utility lines if required by the final design.
Q6. If I sell my land, will I be able to lease it back?
Utility corridor easements will allow the land owner to use their land or lease the property to additional parties, so long as the Government’s right to maintain and operate a utility corridor on that property is not impacted.
Q1: Can I continue to use the land?
Access would be limited for a short time during construction, but landowners could continue to use the land before and after installation activities are completed. Some restrictions pertaining to installing permanent structures may also apply. The Air Force would work with landowners regarding the timing for construction in order to minimize the impact on the owner’s use of the property.
Q2: Will farmers be able to farm their land after they allow access to their land?
Yes. However, access will be limited during construction, but landowners can continue to use the land after installation activities are completed. For a short time during the construction and installation process, property owners will not have access to designated portion(s) of the acreage. Some restrictions pertaining to installing permanent structures may also apply. The Air Force will work with landowners regarding the timing for construction in order to minimize the impact on the owner’s use of the property. The Air Force will restore land to a pre-existing state to the extent possible.
Q3: I currently use my property for agriculture in the area the Air Force is looking to purchase. Would advance communication allow me to harvest crops, cut grass, or move cattle from the area before work begins?
The Air Force will give advanced notice of its construction activities on the property so that landowners can plan accordingly.
Q4: What restrictions will there be on the use of my land after installation?
Landowners will not be able to install or construct permanent structures over the easement, as easy access to the easement utility corridor cabling by the Air Force is required for the future operational reasons, such as cable maintenance. However, it is important to note that the buried utility cable should not impact ranch and farming operations.
Q5: After the project is done, what other access will I have to give the government?
It depends upon which portion of the project will be conducted on the property. For utility corridors, once the project is complete, the easement allows the Air Force the right of ingress and egress to patrol, maintain, repair, and replace the utility. However, the landowner will be notified by a Government Representative that they will be on their property on a particular date and will try to de-conflict schedules to the extent possible. For tower sites, the Government will own the right to ingress and egress the tower sites with no notice to the landowner. If gates are installed to limit access to the road for whatever reason, the Government will also need to access the gate. All of this will be explained in detail to the landowners when the decision regarding the use of private property is made.
Q6: Would the Air Force use existing utility corridors and/or construct new ones?
The Air Force is proposing to use both existing utility corridors and to establish new corridors to meet Sentinel operational requirements.
Q7: If the Air Force is not proposing to use the existing corridors, what would become of the buried cables?
All existing corridors would continue to be used.
Q8: I was asked to provide access for a corridor that has crops on the other side. Will I be able to access these fields after the corridors are dug? I don’t want to lose the crop.
After the installation/construction of the utility corridor is accomplished, the property owner may continue farming operations.
Q9: Where would the antennas be located and how much land is needed for each location? Would we have to provide access to those easements through our land? Are farmers restricted from building on their land until the project is determined?
The Air Force has assessed Sentinel system requirements and has identified proposed locations of antennas and tower sites that can meet the system’s operational needs. Exact siting of roads and dimensions of pads have not been finalized and are still being planned and designed. Initial plans for tower sites would require five-acre parcels and an access road. The location of the site and road is fairly flexible as a final location is negotiated with landowners. Landowners are not restricted from developing their property in anyway until an actual easement or purchase is completed between the landowner and government.
Q1: What is an Environmental Impact Statement or “EIS”?
The “EIS” acronym stands for “Environmental Impact Statement.” Under the National Environmental Policy Act, the Air Force is required to conduct environmental analysis for any proposed major federal action to determine the environmental impact from the proposed activities, provide the public and other stakeholders an opportunity to comment on the action and associated analyses, and to consider all reasonable alternatives, prior to making a final determination to proceed with the action. The Sentinel proposal constitutes a major federal action with potentially significant environmental impacts and thus an EIS has been developed. The Final EIS was completed and released March 31, 2023, and can be viewed at https://www.afgsc.af.mil/Sentinel/Environmental-Impact-Statement/. Following completion of the EIS, a final determination about the Sentinel proposal will be made by the Secretary of the Air Force.
Q2: What happens if you find cultural or natural resources on my property?
If the Air Force determines the proposed action could significantly impact cultural or natural resources, it presents its findings and recommended mitigation measures to landowners and appropriate stakeholders. We recognize landowners are concerned about the potential impact such findings could have on use of land and agricultural operations, and the Air Force will work closely with landowners to ensure mitigation procedures – if needed – are coordinated appropriately.
*For more information regarding the environmental impact of this project, visit https://www.afgsc.af.mil/Sentinel/Environmental-Impact-Statement/.
Q3: Will the frequencies transmitted from the proposed towers be harmful?
The equipment installed on the new communication towers associated with the Sentinel project would be coordinated with the FCC using existing approval processes for use of the electromagnetic spectrum and installed in accordance with all applicable safety requirements. Please refer to the FCC’s radio frequency safety site for additional information: RF Safety FAQ | Federal Communications Commission (fcc.gov).
Q1: When is the approximate start date of the project?
The Air Force plans to start construction in 2024.
Q2: How long is the project going to take approximately?
On-base construction would take approximately 10 years, whereas construction throughout the missile field would take from three to five years for each missile wing. The installation of the utility corridors would take place at an approximate rate of one mile per day. The construction activities at any launch facility or missile alert facility would normally take less than a year.
Q3: Would there be standard hours of operation for the construction to happen? Should my family expect work to be occurring overnight?
All Air Force construction sites would normally have scheduled daily start and stop times, which would be shared with landowners in advance. It is possible that there would be limited 24-hour operations at some construction sites to reduce the overall time at any one site. Any landowners living in the area of construction would be given advanced notice of construction or maintenance activities.
Q4: I noticed the Air Force also needs access to an ingress/egress route to the property. Will you be utilizing pre-existing roads, driveways, and following fence lines to access the property in a non-intrusive way? Will I be informed of your ingress/egress path in advance?
The Air Force’s goal is to minimize impact to landowners and natural resources, and we will determine the least intrusive paths to enter and leave property. The Air Force will give advanced notice before the start of any construction or establishing an entrance/exit route.
Q5: Would there be any project related road/highway closures?
None are planned at this time, as most road crossings of the utility corridor would be done by directional boring. It is still too early in the process to know if soil conditions would allow for boring, or if road cuts would be needed. If road cuts are used, the need for temporary lane closers may exist during utility installations both on- and off-base.
Q6: When construction is happening, will farmers still have priority on farm to market roads?
Construction requires Government officials to coordinate frequently and regularly with local officials in order to ensure farmers are kept abreast of construction impacts on roadways.
Q1: Who is the lead contractor awarded the bid?
The Department of the Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman the Sentinel Engineering and Manufacturing Development contract in September, 2020.
Q2: How many contractors are going to be on this project?
The Air Force estimates the project will employ between 2,000 to 3,000 contractors during the construction phase. Overall, the Sentinel program will involve nearly 10,000 people across the U.S. working directly in support of the program.
Q3: How can local businesses become partners on the project?
Small businesses interested in doing business with Northrop Grumman should visit Doing Business with Northrop Grumman. Completing this form will start the process and ensures Northrop Grumman and its subcontractors have good contact information for the small business and an understanding of their capabilities. Additionally, for small businesses or vendors interested in bidding for Government contracts on F. E. Warren AFB, check the https://sam.gov website for active solicitations.
Q4: Will the project partner with the school district and local colleges for training?
Workforce development in the region is key to successfully fielding Sentinel, and the project will seek opportunities to partner with career and technical education programs at high schools and community colleges in the area.
Q5: Where will employees or workers come from? Will there be local recruitment of employees?
The project is committed to hiring qualified local employees and has set a goal of hiring up to 20% (up to around 600) of project employees from local communities, however, if there is a shortage of skilled trades in the region, employees will come in from other areas of the country to support the project.
Q6: How many people will be coming and where will they be housed?
The typical number of contract employees working on the project is anticipated to fluctuate between 2,000 - 3,000. Most employees hired for construction of the first missile wing would be housed at a workforce hub located in Southwest Nebraska in the vicinity of the town of Kimball. Up to 250 employees would be based in Cheyenne, Wyoming and would rely on locally available housing. Some employees will be hired from local communities, and it is assumed they already have housing.
Q7: Where will the people be housed for the duration of the project?
Most employees (up to 3,000) will be housed in a work hub located in Southwest Nebraska. Up to 250 employees will be based in Cheyenne, Wyoming and will rely on locally available housing. Some employees will be hired from local communities, and it is assumed they already have housing. Given the timeframe and magnitude of Sentinel deployment, this answer is based on the best information currently available but is subject to change and will be updated as appropriate.
Q8: At what tempo/timeframe should the selected community for the workforce hub plan for a permanent presence versus fluid use of the area?
Based on current projections, initial work in the region will begin in 2024 and be completed in the 2030 timeframe. The workforce hub population and the level of activity will peak between 2027 and 2028.
Q9: Has there been a final determination on the location of the proposed work camp?
A final determination has not been made for the location of the proposed workforce hubs. Potential sites indicated by the prime contractor, Northrop Grumman, include a workforce hub in the city of Kimball and an additional laydown yard in the city of Sidney. Other potential locations for laydown yards include the cities of Albin and Stoneham.
Q10: How does the Air Force plan to provide for water/wastewater utilization and demands, along with increased demand on public power/electricity/natural resources, and ensure that these local systems are able to support the needs of the contractor workforce?
The Sentinel contractor has the capability to build a workforce hub that is entirely self-sufficient, to include the use of ground water wells and generated power, if necessary. The Sentinel contractor may choose to use local utilities where adequate capacity and infrastructure to support the hub exists. The best approach to wastewater treatment at the hub is still being evaluated by the Sentinel deployment planning team.
Q11: Is it realistic to think that much of the footprint will remain as permanent fixtures upon the completion of the Sentinel buildup? Are there any discussions on what this phase could look like (i.e., responsibility of ownership or assumption/removal of temporary facilities, substances, materiel, etc.)?
While the contractor has the capability to completely restore the workforce hub site to its previous configuration, the Air Force and the Sentinel contractor are committed to working to find potential alternatives that best meet the needs of the local community.
Q12: Coupled with such significant population increase, does the Air Force plan on engaging the community on increased demand for public safety and emergency services?
Over the last two years, the Air Force, with support from its industry partners, has been executing an ongoing, comprehensive engagement plan to keep local communities informed of the projected impacts of the Sentinel project. The Sentinel project has been working closely with local elected officials, landowners, chambers of commerce, and interested members of the public in both virtual and face-to-face meetings (to include several public hearings and town halls) to address concerns, answer questions and explain projected impacts to local communities. The Air Force understands that communities across the region are concerned about the burden the project may place on local first responders and is working with the contractor to minimize the impacts as much as possible. Additionally, Sentinel anticipates developing a community relations panel to work more closely with local officials to address these types of concerns.
Q13: How does the Air Force plan to provide support for childcare, school/faculty demands, recreation, and regional public transportation systems that may be strained by the contractor workforce?
Most employees directly associated with the Sentinel project will not bring families with them to the area and will have little impact on local schools. Some of the employees working directly on the project will be hired from the local area and therefore would not add any additional students to the schools.
The Sentinel project plans to provide its own transportation when moving employees to and from work locations across the missile fields, and this same transportation will be used to move employees to authorized locations throughout the region.
For recreation, current plans call for the Sentinel transportation fleet to bring some of the workforce into various towns in the region to shop, see a movie, grab a bite to eat, attend places of worship, etc. At the beginning of the project, these trips will be the primary “off-duty” opportunities to interact with the public and businesses in the region (a few hours a day, two days a week.) As the project progresses, feedback from the local communities will be carefully considered and the time periods for the workforce to leave the hub may be adjusted.
Q14: Is the Air Force planning to help communities pay for the upgrades necessary to support this project?
The Air Force is in the process of exploring a range of potential options to help communities deal with some of the impacts associated with the fielding of Sentinel. The projected economic impacts on the region are captured in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (see Table 3.11.13 Proposed Action IMPLAN Model Output for F.E. Warren AFB Off-Base Construction, page 3-507) for the project, which was completed and released March 31, 2023, and can be viewed at https://www.afgsc.af.mil/Sentinel/Environmental-Impact-Statement/. The Environmental Impact Statement process projects the following economic impacts to the region for the off-base construction: an additional 6,202 direct and indirect jobs, a total of $588,369,466 in total labor income added to the region, and a total of $1,168,778,536 in total output from the project. For supporting analysis and more specific details about the impacts, a comprehensive review of the applicable portions of the Final Environmental Impact Statement is recommended.
Q15: Will workers in the field installing Sentinel be restricted to their work site due to security? Will there be much, if any, interaction between the laborers temporarily located in the area and local businesses?
The portion of the workforce not sourced from the region (approximately 80-90% of the total) will be housed at the workforce hub when they are not working actively at a work site. Current plans call for weekend buses to bring some of the workforce into various towns in the region to shop, see a movie, grab a bite to eat, attend places of worship, etc. At the beginning of the project, these trips will be the primary “off-duty” opportunities to interact with the public and businesses in the region (a few hours a day, two days a week.) As the project progresses, feedback from the local communities will be carefully considered and the time periods for the workforce to leave the hub may be adjusted.
Q16: If not, do we have any details into length of stay or positive economic impact on each area?
Current plans call for portions of the workforce to begin work in the region as early as 2024 until the 2030 timeframe. The size of the workforce will peak around 2027-2028. The projected economic impacts on the region are captured in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (see Table 3.11.13 Proposed Action IMPLAN Model Output for F.E. Warren AFB Off-Base Construction, page 3-507) for the project, which was completed and released March 31, 2023, and can be viewed at https://www.afgsc.af.mil/Sentinel/Environmental-Impact-Statement/. The Environmental Impact Statement process projects the following economic impacts to the region for the off-base construction: an additional 6,202 direct and indirect jobs, a total of $588,369,466 in total labor income added to the region, and a total of $1,168,778,536 in total output from the project. For supporting analysis and more specific details about the impacts, a comprehensive review of the applicable portions of the Final Environmental Impact Statement is recommended.
Q17: Does the Air Force have a plan or timetable for communicating with the impacted areas the extent to which the upcoming project will interact with, boost, or otherwise disrupt the current status quo?
The Air Force, with support from its industry partners, has been executing an ongoing, comprehensive engagement plan to keep local communities informed of the projected impacts of the Sentinel project over the last two years. The Sentinel project has been working closely with local elected officials, landowners, chambers of commerce and interested members of the public in both virtual and face-to-face meetings (to include several public hearings and town halls) to address concerns, answer questions and explain projected impacts to local communities. Much of the information on community impacts is provided in detail in the publicly available Final Environmental Impact Statement, which was completed and released March 31, 2023, and can be viewed at https://www.afgsc.af.mil/Sentinel/Environmental-Impact-Statement/. Additionally, Air Force Global Strike Command has established this publicly available web site with answers to many of the questions local communities have been asking.
Q18: Is there a full timeline for the Sentinel emplacement?
As the Sentinel project is still in the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase, the deployment timeline and the workforce hub construction timeline are still being refined. The most current plans call for work to begin in the 90th Missile Wing missile complex (Wyoming/Nebraska/Colorado) in 2024, and work will continue throughout the missile complex until 2030. The workforce hub population and the level of activity will peak between 2027 and 2028.
Q19: How will the Air Force keep my cattle and family safe when construction to install the cables begins? Will fencing or other safety measures be installed?
Safety of the workforce and the public is of paramount importance to the Air Force and its industry partners. Each Air Force construction site will have a documented safety plan to protect workers and provide necessary safeguards for the surrounding environment. The Air Force will ensure landowners have the details of the plans when they are developed.
Q1: What concessions is the government willing to make to allow landowners to build wind turbines?
The Sentinel program is not in a position to provide concessions to address wind turbine development. The resources appropriated from Congress only allow us to acquire temporary and permanent interests in land to support new utilities and infrastructure for Sentinel at F.E. Warren Air Force Base at an amount determined to be just compensation. Just compensation is property and fact specific but is generally based upon an approved appraisal.
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CONTACT US: If you have questions about the Sentinel program, please email us at AFGSC.Sentinel.Hotline@us.af.mil, or call the Sentinel Hotline at (307) 773-3400.
If you have questions about the Sentinel program, please email us at AFGSC.Sentinel.Hotline@us.af.mil, or call the Sentinel Hotline at (307) 773-3400.
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Updated September 19, 2023