September 26, 2013
Enzi, Barrasso tell Defense Secretary study is ‘premature’
Washington, D.C. – Wyoming’s U.S. Senators, Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, wrote Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to back away from a Defense Department plan to conduct an Environmental Impact Study on the possible elimination of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) silos.
They are joined by other Senate ICBM Coalition members in calling the Defense Department’s plan ‘premature’ given that the Administration has not finished its implementation plan for the New START Treaty. They also note that legislation in both the Senate and the House of Representatives prohibits the department from moving forward on such an environmental study with Fiscal Year 2014 funds.
The bipartisan Senate ICBM Coalition consists of co-chairs Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo), and coalition members Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Senator Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).
“Given the Defense Department’s perceived intention to disregard Congressional will and move forward on the EIS, and considering the implications such a decision could have on national security, we request an immediate response, and an assurance that such a premature and unnecessary move will not be carried out,” the Senators wrote to Secretary Hagel.
The Senators also called on the Administration to consult with Congress before implementing New START changes.
The United States’ nuclear weapons arsenal is divided into three elements: land-based missiles in silos (ICBMs) and missiles aboard submarines and bombers. ICBMs are the most cost-effective leg of the triad because they cost less to maintain.
The United States currently has 450 ICBMs, located in states across the American West.
The Senators’ full letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is available online HERE.