Hoeven: Ambassador Billingslea's Visit to Minot Air Force Base Highlights Vital Role of Dual Nuclear Missions

Senator Spoke with Ambassador on Importance of Modernizing Nuclear Forces, Maintaining Credible Deterrent

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today issued the following statement marking Ambassador Marshall Billingslea’s visit to the Minot Air Force Base. Hoeven spoke with Billingslea in advance of his trip to Minot, discussing how the nation’s nuclear missions provide a vital support to the ambassador’s work as the president’s Special Envoy for Arms Control and bolster efforts to confront America’s adversaries, like China and Russia. To this end, the senator stressed the importance of updating the nation’s nuclear forces and ensuring a credible deterrent, a priority he has advanced as a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee.

“As the Special Envoy for Arms Control, Ambassador Billingslea has a clear understanding of the role our nuclear forces play in dealing with our adversaries,” Hoeven said. “I appreciate the opportunity to discuss with him our ongoing efforts to modernize the dual nuclear missions at the Minot Air Force Base, as well as the ambassador’s visit to see these missions firsthand. Maintaining a credible deterrent enables him to negotiate from a position of strength and is central to our nation’s defense, now and into the future.”

Earlier this month, Hoeven helped pass the Senate’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and worked to ensure the legislation continues authorization for nuclear modernization efforts that support the missions at Minot Air Force Base, including:

  • Authorizing upgrades to the B-52, including the new engine program.
  • A new nuclear cruise missile, the Long Range Stand Off missile, to replace the Air Launched Cruise Missile carried on the B-52.
  • Authorization for the new cruise missile warheads.
  • $1.5 billion in funding authority for the new Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), the replacement for the Minuteman III.
    • Hoeven included an amendment to prevent delays in deploying the GBSD. All nuclear weapons must be capable of withstanding electro-magnetic pulses (EMPs). Hoeven’s amendment requires the Air Force to report on how the GBSD will be protected from EMPs to keep the replacement on schedule.
  • Prohibiting the reduction of ICBMs to any lower than the currently deployed 400 missiles.
  • Authorization for a replacement helicopter for the aging UH-1 helicopters that provide security for the ICBM silos.