The co-chairmen of the Senate Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Coalition, Senators Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Mike Enzi (R-WY), hosted a Congressional briefing today to provide a forum for discussing issues important to our nation's nuclear systems.
"Today, we brought together experts from across the nuclear world to discuss the varied challenges our nation faces in securing our nuclear deterrent," Senator Conrad said. "This is a pivotal moment for America's nuclear posture. I am confident that today's meeting will lead to even more productive talks in the coming months to further improve the nuclear enterprise, which is fundamental to keeping Americans and our allies safe."
Briefers included the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy, Dr. Brad Roberts; the heads of the Air Force and Navy nuclear programs, Major General Bill Chambers and Rear Admiral Terry Benedict; and a senior military leader at the National Nuclear Security Administration, Brigadier General Sandy Finan. The panelists spoke specifically about options for funding the sustainment of the nuclear complex, the development of next-generation systems and arms control policy.
In March, the ICBM Coalition submitted a letter reviewing the importance of maintaining a robust fleet of stabilizing, deterring, and affordable ICBM fleet to the Senate Armed Services Committee for its Strategic Forces Subcommittee hearing on nuclear posture. The letter noted that ICBMs are the nation's most cost-effective strategic asset, requiring just one-third to one-fifth the annual operating cost of the submarine-launched leg of the nation's nuclear triad, and stressed that the ground-based strategic deterrent is the most stabilizing leg of the nuclear triad.
The U.S. currently has 450 Minuteman III missiles with 150 missiles each at Minot Air Force Base, Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, and F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming.