Tester, Baucus: Malmstrom’s missiles ‘centerpiece of our defense strategy’

Senators remind military leaders, policymakers that cost-efficient ICBMs protect nation, provide jobs for Great Falls

(U.S. SENATE) – Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus today 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. The senators, who are members of the coalition, told the crowd that Montana’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) are the most cost-effective part of the nation’s defense strategy. 
“I believe that 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 before a Senate panel highlighting the importance of ICBMs.  “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, maintains and secures 150 ICBMs across north-central 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.
Military leaders at today’s briefing included:

• Dr. Brad Roberts, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy, DOD
• Steve Henry, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Matters
• Rear Admiral Terry Joseph Benedict, Director, Strategic Systems Programs, U.S. Navy
• Major General William Chambers, U.S. Air Force
• Brigadier General Sandy Finan, National Nuclear Security Administration

The bipartisan ICBM Coalition is co-chaired by Senators Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.).