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Enzi, Barrasso defend Wyoming’s nuclear force

ICBM readiness critical to nation’s defense

March 28, 2012

U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both R-Wyo., joined a bipartisan coalition of senators today in sending a letter expressing concerns over proposed efforts to reduce the nuclear capabilities of the United States. 

The letter was sent to Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, as the Armed Services Committee holds hearings on the FY 2013 budget and the future of the strategic forces.  The letter states that the “ICBM force dramatically decreases the risk of nuclear war by providing a stabilizing and visible constant in our nuclear posture.”  It also mentions that the force has been modernized through 2030 and is the least expensive leg of the triad.

The U.S. currently has 450 Minuteman III missiles with 150 missiles each at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana; Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota; and F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming.

The letter acknowledges the New START agreement’s range of missile levels and asks that any reductions be made equally among the three facilities.  It also asks that reductions be done incrementally and that all 450 ICBM silos remain in warm status.  This will maintain global nuclear stability, avoid U.S. vulnerability and guarantee strength and preparedness in times of need.

In addition to Senators Enzi and Barrasso, the letter was signed by: Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT), Max Baucus (D-MT), Jon Tester (D-MT), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), and Michael Lee (R-UT).  The letter will be included in the official record of the March 28 Senate Armed Services Subcommittee hearing on Department of Defense nuclear forces.

For the full letter, click here.