Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Craig Thomas and Mike Enzi, both R-Wyo., continue to affirm the need to look into how our nation defends itself. Both senators are part of the Senate ICBM Coalition which met today with members of the Department of Defense.
Wyoming's two U.S. Senators believe that further reduction of the nation's Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) force is ill-advised. F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne is home to 150 of the 500 U.S. Minuteman III missile force.
“It is important that we periodically re-evaluate our defense posture and consider where we want to be in the future. The ICBM force remains a vital component of our nation’s nuclear force. However, we need to take into account our current global situation. It is clear to me that our missile force is appropriate for the time being, but we need to plan for how to deal with new threats,” Thomas said. “FE Warren is an integral part of this process as missile base. As the base works to become a multi-mission facility, I want to ensure its place as our nation evaluates its defense focus to address new threats,” Thomas said.
“Our nation’s land-based nuclear weapons have an important function in the continued security of our nation. F.E. Warren Air Force Base is a major player in our nation's defense. I am pleased to be co-chairing this coalition and working to ensure a secure future for our states and in so doing, a more secure future for our country,” said Enzi. “This summit is especially important with the last Peacekeeper Missile taken off-line just yesterday. We should not rush into further reduction in our nuclear force. It is essential that we address the new and changing role of our nuclear force and to ensure our national security policy can evolve to changing threats.”
The senators heard views from community representatives as well, including two from Wyoming, Col. Craig Whitehead (ret.) and Pete Illoway, a Wyoming Representative from Cheyenne.
As part of the summit meeting, Thomas, Enzi and others sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld affirming the Senate ICBM Coalition’s support for a 500-missile Minuteman III force.
In addition, Thomas and Enzi have cosponsored an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization Bill reiterating support for the 500-missile level.
The Department of Defense’s Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) is expected to be released by the end of the year or early next year.
There is growing concern that the QDR may include recommendations to reduce the number of ICBMs from the current level.