Senators halt effort to cut Malmstrom ICBMs

Tester includes bipartisan amendment in national defense appropriations bill

(U.S. SENATE) – Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus secured a victory for Great Falls today by blocking an Air Force proposal that could have led to the reduction of ICBMs at Malmstrom Air Force Base.

Tester included a bipartisan amendment in a national defense funding bill that blocks a multi-million dollar study to determine the environmental impacts of eliminating Intercontinential Ballistic Missile (ICBM) silos. Tester is a member of the Senate committee that funds the U.S. Defense Department.

Tester and Baucus noted that the study is unwise and unnecessary, and highlighted the fact that Malmstrom’s 150 ICBMs are the most cost-effective leg of the nation’s nuclear deterrent.

“Keeping our nation safe should be our top priority, and Malmstrom’s ICBMs do that in a way that saves taxpayers money,” Tester said. “I will continue to remind folks that Great Falls is home to the hardest-working Airmen in the country and closing Malmstrom’s silos doesn’t make sense whether you’re looking at this from a budget or a security perspective.”

Tester and Baucus have a long record of support for Malmstrom’s ICBM mission. They recently told Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that because of recent threats from North Korea, ICBMs are just as important as ever.

“A strong ICBM force is one of most cost-effective ways to keep America safe. It simply doesn’t make sense to waste taxpayer dollars on studies that look at cutting what we already know gives us maximum nuclear deterrence for our money,” Baucus said.

The Senators also previously told a panel of national security officials that Malmstrom’s ICBMs are the “centerpiece of our defense strategy.”

Tester’s bipartisan amendment is cosponsored by Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.).