Tester, Baucus: Montana’s ICBMs ‘decrease risk of nuclear war’
Senators tell panel missiles needed to keep American safe
U.S. SENATE) – Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus have a clear message for their Senate colleagues: Montana’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) keep America safe and reduce the risk of nuclear war.
A Senate panel is currently holding hearings on America’s nuclear capabilities. Tester and Baucus today reminded the panel’s leaders that the nuclear missiles at Malmstrom Air Force Base are the strongest and most cost-effective part of the country’s nuclear defense strategy.
“The ICBM force dramatically decreases the risk of nuclear war by providing a stabilizing and visible constant in our nuclear posture,” Tester and Baucus wrote the panel.
The United States currently has 450 Minutemen III missiles, evenly divided between Malmstrom, Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, and F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming.
Tester and Baucus, who are members of the Senate’s bipartisan ICBM Coalition, note that unlike other parts of the nation’s nuclear defense, the ICBM force has been modernized through 2030.
Earlier this week, Tester and Baucus urged the President to wait until the bipartisan New START agreement with Russia is fully implemented before initiating any new discussions on reducing strategic nuclear weapons.
The Administration's proposed 2013 budget maintains funding for all 450 ICBMs, and the Defense Secretary has previously stated that the U.S. will retain between 400 to 420 ICBMs by the time the bipartisan New START agreement is implemented in 2017. The Senators also renewed their call for any future ICBM reductions to be made equally and incrementally among the three bases.
Tester’s and Baucus’ letter to Senators Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) was also signed by the co-chairmen of the bipartisan Senate ICBM coalition, Senators Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.).
The letter is available online HERE.