Hoeven Working with STRATCOM Commander to Advance Nuclear Missile Upgrades

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, who serves on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, met Tuesday with U.S. Navy Admiral Cecil D. Haney, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), to discuss the Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) missile program, which would develop nuclear cruise missiles to replace the existing Air Launched Cruise Missile carried on the B-52s at Minot Air Force Base.

Hoeven also underscored the importance of replacing aging UH-1N helicopters currently providing security for the nation’s ICBM fleet. The senator, a member of the bipartisan ICBM Coalition, has pressed Air Force officials for a timely replacement on multiple occasions and successfully worked to include $75 million in the Senate’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Department of Defense appropriations bill to replace the helicopters at Minot. Hoeven has also supported Admiral Haney’s request that DoD provide additional personnel and resources to support the UH-1N fleet while a new helicopter is being procured.

“Minot Air Force Base is the only location in the country that manages nuclear-armed cruise missiles, so it has a special responsibility over our nation’s nuclear deterrent,” Hoeven said. “The nuclear cruise missile is a critical part of the B-52’s mission, and we need to update it to ensure we have an effective nuclear deterrent. This also means refurbishing the warheads in our nuclear cruise missiles so that the LRSO will be effective for decades to come.”

The meeting came ahead of an Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee hearing at which Adm. Haney will testify on the LRSO program and specifically about the refurbishment of the warhead to be carried on LRSO missiles. The hearing is scheduled for today.

The Defense Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2017, which the Senate Appropriations Committee passed in May, includes $95 million in funding for the LRSO program. In addition, the Energy and Water Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2017, which the Appropriations Committee passed in April and the full Senate passed in May, included $220 million to refurbish the cruise missile warhead.