Montana Congressman Steve Daines today joined Representatives Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) in introducing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) ensuring the readiness of the nation's Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) force, including those at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana.
The amendment, which passed through the House today, requires the Department of Defense to maintain the 450 ICBM silos in a warm status, ensuring that our nation's nuclear force remains flexible, functional and responsive.
"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," Daines stated today on the House floor during debate on his amendment."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."
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 deployed land, submarine, and bomber based ICBMs.
The Obama administration has continued to try and reduce America's nuclear forces by cutting missile defenses more than what is required under the New START treaty and bypassing Congressional approval. The proposed changes place the country's ICBMs -- located in Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming - on the chopping block.
The amendment offered by Daines, Lummis and Cramer ensures the infrastructure for these crucial defense missiles are not subjected to hurried cutbacks that lack foresight.
"ICBMs are an important part of our nuclear triad," Lummis added."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."
"The cost of maintaining this important force is far less than the price tag of rebuilding it should it become necessary,"Cramer noted."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."