U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) met today with senior Defense Department officials to discuss the Defense Department's plans to maintain our country's intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) solid rocket motor industrial base. Present at today's meeting was Madelyn Creedon, Assistant Secretary for Global Strategic Affairs; Brett Lambert, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manufacturing and Industrial Policy; and Major General William Chambers, Air Force Assistant Chief of Staff for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration.
Prior to this year, the production of ICBM solid rocket motors was scheduled to end. In last year's National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Hatch included an amendment requiring the Defense Department to author a report on how the Department will maintain ICBM solid rocket motor production in the future. The amendment included in FY2012 NDAA is part of the ongoing efforts undertaken by both Rep. Bishop and Hatch to encourage the Obama Administration to examine the consequences of terminating the production of large-scale solid rocket motors. Previously, Rep. Bishop and Senator Hatch worked together to include legislation in past Defense Authorization Acts which specifically required the Secretary of Defense to review and establish a plan to sustain the solid rocket motor industrial base. Hatch requested today's meeting so that the Utah Congressional Delegation could be updated on the recent report's progress.
"Solid rocket motors are critical to maintaining our nation's nuclear triad, and I appreciate these top officials coming in to discuss the Department's plans," Hatch said. "ICBM solid rocket motors have never lasted as long as the Defense Department is now requiring, so we'll need to have a manufacturing plan to ensure the longevity of our ICBM fleet. We had a productive discussion today and I look forward to receiving a more comprehensive report soon on the Department's plan to maintain these critical national security components."
"The long-term viability of the large solid rocket motor industry has long been one of my key priorities in Congress and I have worked extensively on this issue with my colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee. ICBM's are an important component of our national defense capabilities and it is important that the current Administration recognize that we must have a long-term plan to maintain our fleet. Today's meeting was productive, and I am cautiously optimistic that the Defense Department will make the necessary progress to ensure the long-term viability of our ICBMs. At the end of the day, I have confidence that Defense officials will recognize this program is exceptionally important to our nation's security," said Bishop.