Recent Press Releases

Washington, DC —  Senator John Thune today announced the U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command (ACC) has decided to consolidate two air traffic control centers (currently operated on both Minot Air Force Base and Ellsworth Air Force Base) onto Ellsworth, which is yet another mission that elevates Ellsworth's profile nationally and anchors the base for the future.

The target consolidation date is April 2008, following construction and expansion of the Ellsworth facility. The new consolidated facility will support both Minot and Ellsworth, as well as civil aviation and Federal Aviation Administration air traffic control facilities in the Northern Plains area.

"Once again, the exemplary skills and service of the men and women at Ellsworth Air Force Base has commanded the attention and respect of Air Force commanders, who have decided to charge Ellsworth with another new mission," Thune said. "The news that Ellsworth has been chosen to house a consolidated air traffic control center to serve both Minot and Ellsworth Air Force Bases will boost the economy of the Black Hills area and secure the future of this outstanding military facility.

"Shortly after BRAC, I began working closely with Air Force and Department of Defense officials to highlight Ellsworth's potential for this and several other future missions. In April, Ellsworth was chosen to host the Air Force Financial Services Center. Now, with yet another new mission under its wings, Ellsworth's footing is growing stronger every day.

"Ellsworth's growth and security remains a top priority for me, and I will continue to work to bring additional missions to this base, which is a source of pride for all South Dakotans."

This latest mission is in addition to Thune's announcement in April that EAFB had been picked over several other candidate bases as the best site to locate the consolidated Air Force Financial Services Center (AFFSC). Prior to these new missions, Ellsworth had not received a major new mission since the late 1980s. The base had four Wings and a Strategic Warfare Center in 1990, but steadily lost missions until only the 28th Bomb Wing remained by 1995. Last year, Senator Thune led a successful campaign to reverse the Department of Defense's BRAC closure recommendation. The BRAC victory and the selection of Ellsworth as the location for the finance center and the consolidated air traffic control centers represents the beginning of Ellsworth's climb back to prominence.