In response to President Obama's announced plans to further reduce America's nuclear capabilities, U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, and Rep. Cynthia Lummis, all R-Wyo., expressed grave concerns with the president's decision to cut America's nuclear arsenal below the levels set by the New START Treaty. The delegation reaffirmed their support for keeping a strong, well-maintained nuclear force and called the president's decision shortsighted.
"Our ICBM force is on the frontlines of our national defense and helps ensure that we always have an effective deterrent to those who wish to do us harm. While President Obama may want to appease Russia with this agreement, I'm also concerned about China. They are increasing their capabilities while we are penalizing ourselves. We live in a dangerous world and how we approach national security has to reflect that. I do not support reductions in our ICBM programs, especially below the levels of the New START Treaty. I support the men and women at F.E. Warren who give us their best every day. The delegation will stand against efforts to cede the upper hand in areas of national security," said Senator Enzi.
"America's nuclear deterrent helps keep Americans safe and our country free. The only thing that has changed since the New START Treaty is that the threat of hostile nuclear programs has become even greater. As countries that are not our friends grow closer to modernizing their nuclear weapons programs, it would be irresponsible for us to weaken our own program. Instead of focusing on reducing America's nuclear deterrent, the President should focus on stopping countries like Iran and North Korea form expanding their nuclear programs. The President's plan to cut our nuclear weapons stockpile by one-third will require substantial cuts to the ICBM force across the country, and specifically in Wyoming. If he's serious about protecting Americans and our allies, the President should immediately drop any plans to further reduce our ICBM's," said Senator Barrasso.
"ICBMs are an important part of our nuclear triad. But like a stool, if you shorten one leg of the triad it becomes unstable. Which is why I successfully amended the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to require the Department of Defense to maintain all 450 silos in warm status. This provision, along with base bill language denying funding for the process of further reduction, is necessary to keep President Obama from circumventing the authority of Congress. We need to use caution by preserving existing silos and not allow the Administration to further deplete our nation's irreplaceable defense system. We will fight back against any further unilateral reductions to our nuclear force," said Rep. Lummis.
The announcement comes 15 months after a conversation between President Obama and former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was picked up by an open microphone. Obama declared that he would have more flexibility after his election in talks about missile-defense programs.