Hoeven Reviews Progress on Cruise Missile Warhead Program

Senator Working to Fund Efforts to Modernize U.S. Warheads

LIVERMORE, CA. – Senator John Hoeven, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, today reviewed classified work being done at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to update the warheads for the Air Force’s nuclear cruise missiles, which are carried on the B-52s at Minot Air Force Base (MAFB). As a member of the Energy and Water Appropriations committee, the senator is working to ‎fund the warhead project, which will allow it to remain in service for decades to come.

The Senator also toured the National Ignition Facility (NIF) located at the lab. NIF is the world's largest laser facility and focuses on the study of nuclear fusion reactions, which provides information useful to weapons programs and a variety of other civilian research projects. Hoeven met with Deputy Director of the Lab, Thomas Gioconda, and Charles Verdon, Principal Associate Director for Weapons and Complex Integration.

“The work being done at Livermore Lab today will ensure the warheads that come to Minot are safe and secure for decades to come,” Hoeven said. “NIF is the world's largest laser facility. It is used to trigger controlled nuclear reactions that allow scientists to study how nuclear fusion and fission reactions work. This helps modernize the U.S. nuclear stockpile and also promises a variety of civilian benefits, including the development of advanced sources of nuclear energy.”

Today’s visit comes a week after an Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee hearing at which U.S. Navy Admiral Cecil D. Haney, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), testified on the LRSO program, specifically about the refurbishment of the warhead to be carried on LRSO missiles.

Hoeven worked on the Senate Appropriations Committee to include $95 million in the Fiscal Year 2017 Defense Appropriations bill, which the Senate Appropriations Committee passed in May. Additionally, the Fiscal Year 2017 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which the Appropriations Committee passed in April and the full Senate passed in May, includes $220 million to refurbish the cruise missile warhead.

The Lawrence Livermore National Lab is a top-tier research and development institution that applies science and technology to national security. Its prime responsibility is ensuring the safety, security and reliability of the nation’s nuclear weapons.

The Laboratory also applies its resources to preventing the proliferation and use of weapons of mass destruction, bolstering homeland security and solving other nationally important problems, including energy and environmental security, basic science and economic competitiveness.