Hoeven Welcomes DOD Secretary's Commitment to Updating Nation's Nuclear Triad During Minot Visit

Senator Urged Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s Continued Support for the Nation’s Nuclear Capability

MINOT, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Air Force Caucus, today welcomed U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to Minot Air Force Base and lauded the secretary’s reaffirmation of the Pentagon’s commitment to modernize the nation’s nuclear triad.

Minot Air Force Base is the only base in the nation with two legs of the triad, hosting both the B-52 bombers of the 5th Bomb Wing and the Minutemen Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) of the 91st Missile Wing. The secretary outlined the Pentagon’s plan in a speech to the airmen and leadership on the topic of the future of America’s nuclear capability.

“We’re pleased Secretary Carter came to visit the base so he could see firsthand what an outstanding asset it is and reaffirm the Pentagon’s commitment to improving the nation’s nuclear deterrent,” Hoeven said. “Several months ago, I put together a bipartisan letter signed by fourteen senators asking the defense secretary to talk about his commitment to updating the nuclear triad, so it’s very good that he came to Minot Air Force Base to outline his views about updating and modernizing our nuclear triad.”

In July, Hoeven organized a bipartisan letter calling on Carter to make explicit the DOD’s position on the modernization effort. The letter came in response to several statements by the president and others suggesting the Obama administration is backing away from support for the nuclear modernization program, which Hoeven has strongly advocated.

Hoeven and the senators told the secretary that the three legs of the nuclear triad – land-based missiles, bombers and nuclear submarines – combine to form a very effective deterrent. However, they’re aging and must be modernized to ensure this interlocking triad continues its decades-long record of protecting the nation and deterring adversaries.

“We are grateful for your past support in the effort to modernize the triad, and we hope you can reassure us of the Department’s support for the ongoing modernization agenda,” they wrote. “We look forward to your response and to continuing to work with you to ensure the United States retains a safe, reliable and effective deterrent for the foreseeable future.”

In addition to Hoeven, signatories of the letter include: Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), David Vitter (R-La.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Deb Fischer R-Neb.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.).

The complete text of the letter can be found here.