Senators tell policy makers of importance of nuclear missiles

Great Falls Tribune

Montana Sens. Jon Tester and Max Baucus Wednesday reminded America’s military leaders and policymakers that Montana’s nuclear missiles are the ‘centerpiece of the nation’s defense strategy’ and warned against making any defense cuts that jeopardize national security.

Tester and Baucus spoke at a briefing for policymakers organized by the bipartisan Senate ICBM Coalition, a group of missile state senators.

They told a group that included military leaders that they think the intercontinental missiles at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana and two other bases are the most cost-effective part of the nation’s nuclear defense strategy.

“I believe our missiles must remain as the centerpiece of our defense strategy, and I will stand in the way of any efforts to change that,” Tester said. “We need to highlight their cost-effectiveness in a nuclear world, a world where more countries are seeking nuclear capabilities.”

Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls operates, maintains and secures 150 ICBMs across northcentral Montana.

“ICBMs keep America safe and give us more nuclear deterrence for our money, and in today’s budget crunch, that’s more important than ever,” Baucus told the panel. “A strong ICBM force also means good-paying American jobs. I urge you all to remember these facts as we continue to work together to keep America safe.”

Tester and Baucus also said that modernizing ICBMs will keep the missiles reliable and effective, and it will preserve the mission at Malmstrom.