The U.S. Air Force is replacing the aging LGM-30 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile with the LGM-35A Sentinel ICBM to modernize the land-based leg of the U.S. nuclear triad. The Minuteman III ICBM have been operational since the early 1970s, and upon completion, the new Sentinel ICBM will maintain effective land-leg nuclear capabilities through 2075. The program will replace missile fields at the following air forces bases: F.E. Warren, Wyo., Malmstrom, Mont., and Minot, N.D.
The Sentinel Program requires temporary construction easements for utility corridors, launch facilities and missile alert facility conversions. It also seeks permanent easements for utility corridors, drainage easements for sites converted to the new Sentinel Launch Centers, road access to new tower sites, and fee acquisitions for five-acre tower sites.
The proposed number of lots needed is approximately 172 miles or 296 parcels of land in the first phase, the majority of which will be acquired through the reuse of previously acquired easements. The remaining land will be acquired through close collaboration with landowners to ensure that just compensation is provided.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers works in partnership with the U.S. Air Force Sentinel Program as its purchasing agent. Omaha District realty specialists contact landowners affected by proposed easements to provide information regarding the desired amount and location of land to be used. An independent appraiser will then determine the fair market value of the land. After this initial appraisal and subsequent review by a USACE appraiser, USACE realty specialists work together with landowners to negotiate just compensation for their land before an offer to purchase is made.
“The Sentinel Program will protect and strengthen our existing national defense well into the future,” John Pipp, USACE Omaha District branch chief for the Sentinel Program, said. “Our Real Estate team must remain cognizant of the challenges present in acquiring these parcels of land on behalf of our Air Force partners.”
According to Pipp, the Omaha District Real Estate team must navigate land acquisition for the program tactfully. Some parcels have existing, utility cables and roadways potentially impacting construction and design. Moreover, collaboration with affected landowners is key to ensuring that they are informed and receive compensation for the use of their land.
“Working with the Air Force and their contractor, Northrop Grumman, we aim to accomplish acquisitions by taking the path of least resistance,” Pipp said.
The Air Force and Omaha District held a county meeting March 27, 2023, in Pine Bluffs, Wyoming to discuss upcoming real estate acquisitions in the area. Omaha District senior realty specialists were able to connect and speak with local landowners and community members and provide any clarification needed regarding the upcoming Sentinel Program kickoff at F.E. Warren AFB. Additional meetings with the public may be scheduled to further communicate with affected landowners regarding the Sentinel Program and associated real estate transactions.
For additional information about the USACE Omaha District’s Real Estate program, visit: https://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/Business-With-Us/Real-Estate/