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Gen. Bussiere briefs senior leaders on missile community cancer study process

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Shelby Thurman
  • Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs

Recently, Gen. Thomas A. Bussiere, commander, Air Force Global Strike Command, along with Col. Lee Williames, AFGSC Command Surgeon, briefed Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall , Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. C.Q. Brown, Jr., and other key U.S. Air Force and Space Force leaders on the ongoing study of cancer cases from the missile community.

“Our obligation to care for our Airmen and Guardians is sacred,” said Kendall. “We are committed to maintaining an open dialogue, remaining transparent, and continuously providing updates to our members and families throughout this study.”

The study, conducted by the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine in coordination with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the American Cancer institute, and other civilian academic institutions, covers all career fields within the missile community, past and present.

“The scope of this study is intentionally broad, looking over time, multiple locations, and career fields with similar exposure risks” Bussiere said. “We don’t want to miss any Airman or Guardian who might have been affected, or who could be affected in the future.”

That action has already begun, with previous studies at Malmstrom Air Force Base in 2001 and 2005 being cross-checked against new medical literature that may have emerged since those studies were completed. If the research teams finds an increased incidence of cancer, the next step would then be to determine causation.

“The findings of the incidence study will be critical when looking at next steps,” Williames said. “It will create a roadmap for evaluation of cause and ultimately informed mitigation strategies.”

In addition to reviewing existing studies, the research teams developed plans to visit active intercontinental ballistic missile bases, orienting themselves to the day-to-day mission environment to be able to identify potential exposure concerns, while also working alongside local public health and bioenvironmental engineering members to develop a plan for long term monitoring going forward.

“Our Airmen, Guardians, and families -- past and present – deserve the highest level of diligent attention to the specific cancer concerns raised by missile community members across related career fields and we are committed to the formal assessment that is underway to address and investigate those concerns,” said Kendall.


As the study progresses, updates and resources will continue to be posted online at:

If any Airman – past or present, Guardian, or family member has a question or concern, they are encouraged to speak to their medical provider or they can submit their question through the AFGSC Official Website at: or via the Office of the Air Force Surgeon General at: