Hoeven Outlines Importance of Strengthening Nuclear Detterent at Task Force 21 Nuclear Conference

Senator Highlights North Dakota’s Dual Nuclear Mission

WASHINGTON – In remarks before the 2017 Task Force 21 Triad Conference, Senator John Hoeven today outlined key priorities for the Nuclear Posture Review, the blueprint for the nation’s strategic deterrent that is currently being worked on by the administration. The senator also highlighted the important role that Minot Air Force Base, home to both the B-52 bombers of the 5th Bomb Wing and the Minutemen III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) of the 91st Missile Wing, plays in keeping the nation safe from emerging threats around the globe. Hoeven also met with members of Minot’s Task Force 21 to discuss operations at Minot Air Force Base.

“Nuclear weapons are at the foundation of our nation’s security,” said Hoeven. “We should not to shy away from strategic deterrence and must embrace it as essential to the security of our people and of our allies around the world.”

Hoeven outlined key priorities for the Nuclear Posture Review, including:

  • Strong endorsement of the long range stand off (LRSO) program which will provide a new nuclear cruise missile. The LRSO will enhance both the flexibility and credibility of our deterrent as well as reassure our allies of our commitment to their defense.
  • Strong commitment to warhead modernization. That includes extending the life of our existing warheads, reviewing whether the warheads in the current stockpile adequately deter nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran and set a strategy for developing new capabilities.
  • Strong statement supporting nuclear deterrence in the 21st century.

As a member of the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Committee and Energy Appropriations Committee, Hoeven is working to modernize the nation’s nuclear arsenal and ensure it is effective in deterring aggression against the United States. To this end, the senator helped secure the following priorities in the Senate’s recently-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018:

  • $617 million authorized to sustain the existing fleet of ICBMs and $215.7 million for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program to develop a replacement for the existing Minuteman III.
  • $221.4 million authorized for upgrades to the B-52 and $451 million for the LRSO missile to replace the aging Air Launched Cruise Missile carried on the B-52.
  • $108.6 million in authorized funding for the Air Force to replace the UH-1N Huey helicopter that provides security for the ICBMs located around Minot Air Force Base.    

In addition, both Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Defense Secretary James Mattis visited the Minot Air Force Base this month, following invitations from Hoeven. The senator stressed the importance of these officials seeing the work of the base’s airmen firsthand as they work to ensure the nation has a credible nuclear force to deter aggression against the U.S. and counter rogue nations, like North Korea. Hoeven built on these visits by calling upon General Robin Rand, the Commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, to support the nuclear missions at the base.