Hoeven Outlines Priorities for Nuclear Triad to Defense Leaders

Nuclear Force Improvement Program, Missile & Warhead Updates Key Defense Components

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven this week told an audience of Air Force personnel, defense industry professionals and congressional staff that maintaining a strong nuclear triad as a visible deterrent is the most effective strategy to preserve peace and stability. The senator highlighted the importance of the Nuclear Force Improvement Program (NFIP) and the modernization of the Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) missile program during his speech to the defense leaders.

Nuclear Force Improvement Program

“The world needs to see that we take our nuclear forces seriously, and the Nuclear Force Improvement Program is a visible, tangible effort to demonstrate that we are serious about deterrence,” said Hoeven.

The recently passed Senate budget includes a Hoeven amendment that ensures that the budget supports the Air Force’s NFIP, including providing special pay rates and making improvements to nuclear mission-related equipment and facilities. Hoeven worked with Air Force officials to start the NFIP in 2014 and as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee to provide funding in Fiscal Year 2015 for the program. The Air Force requested more than $130 million for this program in Fiscal Year 2016 and plans on similar requests for the next several years. 

Visible Nuclear Deterrence

Hoeven said that a key advantage of the nation’s ICBM force is that it a visible demonstration of U.S. power.

“It is a reminder that we use our nuclear deterrent forces every day to protect the nation. These silos provide notice to the rest of the world that we are capable of responding to anything – anywhere and anytime – with weapons that are more destructive than anything that could come our way.  It’s good for our adversaries to see that,” said Hoeven.

“Similarly, the bomber force, some of which is based in Minot, can fly wherever the crisis might be. This enables our allies to see the strength of our commitment to their security, not from a hypothetical missile shot from the other side of the world but from the real deployment of a bomber to their neighborhood.”

As part of a visible nuclear deterrent, Hoeven highlighted the importance of the Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) missile program. The Fiscal Year 2016 budget request includes funding to begin serious work on the LRSO and the W80 cruise missile warhead, which will replace the existing air-launched cruise missile (ALCM). 

Hoeven delivered his remarks at the 2015 Peter Huessy Congressional Breakfast Seminar Series, which is sponsored by the Air Force Association (AFA), the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) and the Reserve Officer Association (ROA).  

The AFA’s Peter Hussey Series began in 1983 and routinely features top congressional leaders, senior administration officials and outside experts as guest lectures who speak on timely issues related to strategic nuclear matters, homeland security and missile defense policy and deployment.