Hoeven: Energy Appropriations Bill Supports Updates to Cruise Missiles at Minot Air Force Base

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the Senate’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, which the full Senate Appropriations Committee approved this week, includes funding to refurbish the W80 warheads for the Air Force’s nuclear cruise missiles, which are carried on the B-52s at Minot Air Force Base (AFB). As a member of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, Hoeven pressed his fellow appropriators to ensure the W80 life extension program received full funding at $220 million for the coming fiscal year.

“The nuclear triad is a vital part of our nation’s defense, and we need to provide our forces with the tools and current technology they need to be effective,” said Hoeven. “This funding will help ensure that our cruise missiles continue to carry secure, reliable and effective warheads, which forces our adversaries to regard them as a credible nuclear deterrent.”

This funding comes as part of Senator Hoeven’s ongoing work to support updates to the nation’s nuclear triad. In November, Hoeven worked to pass the National Defense Authorization Act, which fully authorized the FY16 Air Force budget for the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) and B-52 missions at Minot AFB. Hoeven also worked to include funding for these priorities and for upgrades to equipment and facilities under the Air Force’s Nuclear Force Improvement Program (NFIP) in the defense appropriations bill signed into law in December.

Following this, Hoeven met with newly confirmed Under Secretary of the Air Force Lisa Disbrow to highlight the success of NFIP and the need to continue to invest in efforts to modernize the B-52 and the base’s fleet of ICBMs. The senator also met with leaders at Minot AFB in March to review the needs of the base and help advance these priorities, including the need to replace the Vietnam-era helicopters the Air Force currently uses to provide security for the ICBM silos and command facilities spread across western North Dakota.