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Public Statements

Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. LUMMIS. I'm pleased to work with Representative Berg on this amendment, which will protect our nuclear triad from the reductions scheduled under this treaty for the term of this 2013 budget year. Each leg of our nuclear triad--bombers, submarines, and land-based missiles--complement each other and they strengthen each other.

As a lifelong resident of southeast Wyoming, I have come to understand and appreciate the role of our intercontinental ballistic missiles. The 90th Missile Wing in Cheyenne keeps 150 of our ICBMs at nearly 100 percent alert. The bombers and subs have their own unique strengths, but no other leg of the triad comes close to this alert level. The constant alert, wide geographic dispersion and immediate, global response capability of our ICBMs make them an indispensable part of our triad.

ICBMs are the most cost-effective leg of the triad as well. At less than $3 million per ICBM, they are less than a third of the cost of a sub-launched missile or a nuclear bomber. It's because of ICBMs that we can say with confidence that we are fielding a nearly unbeatable nuclear force.

Those that want to slash our nuclear force forget that it was American strength that ended the Cold War. It was American strength, including the Peacekeeper and Minuteman III missiles, that allowed us to negotiate landmark reductions in American and Russian nuclear arsenals. Remember, we were able to retire the Peacekeeper missile silos in Wyoming. It was a victory for global stability; but we did it through American strength, not through unilateral disarmament.

That's what makes the New START Treaty so troubling. It is bilateral in name only. The United States bound itself to unilateral reductions in strategic nukes, but Russia can still expand its strategic arsenal. Russia can stack their bombers to the hilt with warheads and call it a single-delivery vehicle. Russia can deploy an unlimited number of the tactical nuclear weapons under which they hold an advantage. Russia can develop new, long-range nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. With New START, we negotiated away American strength and received little in return.

It is dangerous to assume that our nuclear competitors have the same motives and ideals that we do. If we roll over and capitulate to the demands of our competitors, we cannot assume that Russia, China, and Iran will follow. But if we maintain our strengths and our unbeatable nuclear posture, we will be far more effective at securing the peace that we all want.

Again, I want to thank Representative Berg and Mr. Rehberg. I encourage you to vote against unilateral disarmament. Vote for our amendment.


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