SIDNEY – 15 missile facilities, 150 launch facilities and 18 communication towers. Those were the figures released during a presentation about the United States Air Force’s new intercontinental ballistic missile system set to break ground in 2026. 

The U.S. Air Force held a town meeting and community engagement event at Sidney High School Wednesday night. They also held meetings this month in Harrisburg, Kimball and Sterling.   

The Ground Based Strategic Deterrence activities will cover 2,500 miles, 60,600 acres and 5,800 parcels of land across Nebraska, Wyoming and Colorado. 

Vice Commander of the 90th Missile Wing Col. Deane Konowicz says the meetings are used to bring community partners together and explain what the new system, The Sentinel, is about.   

“A lot of this is pre-decisional,” Konowicz said. “It was an opportunity for folks, landowners, community partners, and city and county leaders to bring their questions and concerns to us. That allows us to bring that into part of the conversation and partner with the community as we go forward.” 

The project covers 390 miles, 9,500 acres and 1,200 parcels of land in Cheyenne County. No new missile facilities will be built. However, the Air Force is modernizing existing Minuteman III systems, including missile silos, control center and other ground infrastructure.  

“The Sentinel is important because it represents what our Airmen do, and that’s stand and watch for the Nation,” Konowicz said. “The sentinel is one of our key legs of strategic deterrence going into the future. This missile system will carry us out into 2075 and perhaps beyond. The Minuteman III that we’ve been operating on for the last half a century is still safe, secure and reliable, and absolutely the foundation of our strategic deterrent.” 

The launch facility being built in Kimball will employ 2,500-3,000 people, according to Konowicz. He says housing new employees is a topic they’re learning more about.  

“We know there’s a lot of concern in the community and lots of questions in regards to housing, specifically the number of folks coming to Cheyenne and Kimball counties, and other areas around the panhandle of Nebraska,” Konowicz said. “At this point we’re really trying to gather the concerns of the community and better understand what that looks like with regards to housing.” 

Konowicz says The Sentinel is one of three legs of the nuclear triad. He said the missiles can have nuclear heads on them, but the community has nothing to worry about. 

“We have been able to operate The Minute Man III safely, securely and reliably for over a half a century,” Konowicz said. “F.E. Air Force base has been a proud leg of that triad since 1958 and we look forward to continuing that for the rest of this century.” 

Konowicz is thankful for the support from the Nebraska Panhandle area and says he’s excited to see what this weapon system brings to national security. 

“We really appreciate the opportunity to partner with Cheyenne County and the city of Sidney,” Konowicz said. “It’s an amazing partnership that’s endured for the last 60+ years and we look forward to an amazing partnership going forward as we deploy The Sentinel Missile System.”