Delegation meets Defense official to plug Montana missiles

The Great Falls Tribune

The three members of Montana’s congressional delegation met with a key Pentagon official Wednesday to urge the retention of intercontinental ballistic missiles in Montana.

Democratic Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester, and Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg met with James Nelson, the under secretary of defense for policy. Nelson will play a key role in planning the Obama administration’s Nuclear Posture Review— a study of the role that nuclear weapons should play in U.S. security.

Delegation members expressed their strong support for the land-based ICBMs, calling them essential for national security, and stressed that they have remained secure at Malmstrom Air Force Base near Great Falls.

Malmstrom, F.E. Warren AFB in Wyoming, and Minot AFB in North Dakota each have 150 Minuteman III nuclear missiles.

One squadron of 50 missiles was deactivated at Malmstrom last year. Additionally, U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev are negotiating a possible reduc-tion in the number of nuclear warheads and delivery systems each country can maintain.

Miller said he recognizes the important role that ICBMs play in U.S. security, and pledged to keep the Montana delegation informed as the process moves forward, according to a joint news release from the delegation.