Montana Delegation meets with Top Pentagon Official on ICBMs

Baucus, Tester, Rehberg Say Montana’s Missiles are “Essential to National Security”

(Washington, D.C.) – Montana’s Congressional delegation today made it clear to the Department of Defense that Montana must keep its Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs).

Senator Max Baucus, Senator Jon Tester and Representative Denny Rehberg met with Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. James Miller in the Capitol to express their strong support for the ICBMs mission. Dr. Miller was receptive to their arguments.

“These missiles are essential to national security.” Baucus said. “There is no better place for those ICBMs than in Montana and no better people to make sure they remain secure than Montanans. It’s about keeping America safe and you can bet Jon, Denny and I will fight to keep them right where they belong.”

“Positioning the world’s most powerful weapons in Montana, where they have been secure and ready for the worst case scenario for 50 years, is common sense,” Tester said. “Malmstrom Air Force Base—and the men and women who work there—are a key part of our national security infrastructure.  Working together, we’ll make sure the Pentagon clearly understands how important this infrastructure is to the security of our nation.”

“Montana has a key role to play in the security of our country,” said Rehberg, a member of the House Appropriations Committee.  “Working together, Max, Jon and I can present a unified front that is more likely to achieve results that benefit not only Montana, but all Americans.”

Dr. Miller will play a key role in planning the Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, which outlines the role that nuclear weapons play in US National security policy. Dr. Miller pledged to keep the delegation fully informed as the process moves forward. He also said he recognized the important role that ICBMs play in US national security.

That review is due to be complete early in 2010 and sets the parameters for the Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (START) talks between U.S. and Russian leaders. The current START treaty expires December 4th, 2009.

In addition to the meeting, Senators Baucus and Tester also joined their colleagues today in releasing a White Paper that provides an in-depth description of why maintaining 450 ICBMs is important to US National Security.