An amendment authored by U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo) and co-introduced with U.S. Representatives Steve Daines (R-MT) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) ensuring the readiness of the nation's Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) force was accepted today in the U.S. House of Representatives. The amendment requires the Department of Defense to maintain the 450 ICBM silos in a warm status; able to be fully functional.
Land-based ICBMs make up a component of the national nuclear triad alongside submarines and bombers. However the New START treaty, introduced with the intention of reducing nuclear arms globally, limited countries to no more than 800 total land, submarine, and bomber based ICBMs. The Obama administration continues to try and reduce America's nuclear forces by cutting missile defenses more than required under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and bypassing congressional approval. The proposed changes place the country's ICBMs -- located in Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota - on the chopping block. Today's amendment ensures these crucial defense missiles are not subjected to hurried cutbacks that lack foresight.
U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo):
"ICBM's are an important part of our nuclear triad. But like a stool, if you shorten one leg of the triad it becomes unstable. We are not in a position to reduce our country's ICBM capabilities. We're living in an unstable world facing countries with unstable leaders. China, Russia and Pakistan are in the process of modernizing or expanding their nuclear arsenals. A reduction to these weapons fractures our national security. These missiles are necessary precautionary measures protecting our country with the hope they would never have to be used but in the event they are needed, to be ready and capable at a moment's notice."
U.S. Representative Steve Daines (R-Mont):
"Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana is home to 150 of our nation's intercontinental ballistic missiles, which are a vital component of our nuclear deterrence strategy to keep the American people safe from mankind's most dangerous threat. For several decades, this peace through strength policy has worked, which is why I believe it would be deeply unwise to degrade the very infrastructure which implements our effective policy for peace. By requiring that the Pentagon keep our ICBM silos in warm status, our amendment will help keep potential adversaries at bay and ensure that our crucial nuclear force remains strong, flexible and responsive."
U.S. Representative Kevin Cramer (R-ND):
"The cost of maintaining this important force is far less than the price tag of rebuilding it should it become necessary. China, France, India, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, and Russia are engaged in maintaining, expanding, and modernizing their nuclear programs. Some argue the U.S. taxpayer is funding the maintenance of weapons never used. I argue the U.S. taxpayer is funding the maintenance of hundreds of ICBMs being used every day, successfully deterring our enemies from launching their own nuclear weapons."
Final passage of NDAA is slated for Friday.