Senator Hoeven Working to Ensure Safe, Credible Nuclear Deterrent

MINOT, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today spoke at a symposium on the enduring need for the nuclear triad and deterrence hosted by Minot’s Task Force 21, a group of local civic leaders who work to support the missions of the Minot Air Force Base. Also speaking at the event were Senator Heidi Heitkamp, by video, and Congressman Kevin Cramer.

“The unpredictable and chaotic global security environment demands a nuclear deterrence strategy far into the future,” Hoeven said. “Our nuclear deterrent represents only two percent of defense spending. It is the most cost-effective portion of our defense strategy, deterring our enemies, reassuring our allies and protecting against future aggression, unpredictable foreign leaders and unforeseen global power shifts.”

Hoeven emphasized the importance of securing appropriate levels of support for strategic deterrence in Washington’s ongoing budget debate amidst sequestration. The Senator made the following key points:

  • There is no guarantee that the nuclear enterprise will not be impacted, and we must fight for the funding needed to sustain the triad.
  • The President’s budget calls for an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) of ICBM bases, which suggests that the President is considering further reductions of the nuclear force beyond the requirements of the New START agreement, the nuclear arms reduction treaty agreed to by the U.S. and Russia. This EIS should not be funded and we should retain all of our missile silos in warm status, even where New START requires us to get rid of missiles.
  • We should not even consider additional reductions to our nuclear forces until New START is fully implemented and the administration should not take steps to reduce our nuclear forces without first consulting the Senate.
  • The President’s budget also requests over $500 million less in funding than pledged by the administration for the purpose of updating the nuclear weapons program. This would further harm the effort to sustain and modernize our warheads. We must accelerate the modernization process or we will eventually lack safe, reliable, effective and credible warheads inside our submarines, bombers and missiles.

As a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, Senator Hoeven is working to support the ICBM and B-52 missions of the Minot Air Force Base and opposes recent efforts by the Administration to reduce nuclear missile silos.