Hoeven to Meet with Nuclear Oversight Board to Highlight Importance of Minot Air Force Base Nuclear Missions

MINOT, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven will meet tonight with members of the Air Force’s Nuclear Oversight Board to press for support in making necessary upgrades to equipment and facilities to support the nuclear missions at Minot Air Force Base. The Board includes Secretary of the Air Force Deborah James, Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh, the Air Force Inspector General and the heads of the major commands with nuclear responsibilities, who are visiting Minot Air Force Base this week. Hoeven worked with Air Force officials to start the Nuclear Force Improvement Program (NFIP) in 2014 and as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee to provide an initial $21 million in Fiscal Year 2015 to fund the program. 

“We are pleased to have the Nuclear Oversight Board at Minot Air Force Base this week to see firsthand the good work that our airmen and women are doing in support of our nation’s nuclear defense,” said Hoeven. “We look forward to working with the Board to maintain and upgrade our nuclear equipment and facilities to ensure that our service members have the support they need to keep fulfilling their missions and defending our nation.”

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Hoeven worked to include provisions and funding in the Fiscal 2015 omnibus funding bill that maintain the nuclear triad and update and upgrade nuclear equipment. The fiscal year 2015 defense funding legislation:

  • Maintains the Nuclear Triad: Includes the Hoeven-Tester amendment that passed in committee which prohibits the administration from cutting any additional nuclear missiles or bombers in Fiscal Year 2015 and ensures all 450 ICBM silos remain in operational or “warm” status. Minot Air Force Base is home to two legs of the triad.
  • Funds the Nuclear Force Improvement Program: Devotes $21 million for the NFIP. This money represents an initial investment to upgrade basic equipment and facilities associated with the nuclear missions at Minot Air Force Base.
  • Upgrades the Cruise Missile Warhead: Includes $9.4 million to begin developing an updated warhead for the air-launched cruise missile (ALCM). Hoeven worked with the committee to include this funding to extend the viability of the ALCM, which is the primary nuclear weapon carried on the B-52.
  • Funds the B-52 Anti-Skid Replacement: Allocates $6.3 million requested by Hoeven to replace the B-52's anti-skid system. This equipment is aging, and funding in this bill will accelerate the replacement process for the full B-52 fleet.

A member of the Senate ICBM Coalition, Hoeven has worked to ensure the nation’s nuclear defense. Last year, Hoeven successfully stopped the administration from reducing the number of active silos containing ICBMs, all of which are located at bases in the Upper Midwest.