Cramer, Lummis, Daines Amendment to Protect ICBM Mission, National Security Accepted by House
Washington, D.C. – An amendment authored by U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo) and co-introduced with U.S. Representatives Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Steve Daines (R-MT) 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; ensuring our nation’s nuclear force remains flexible, functional 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 continues to try and reduce America’s nuclear forces by cutting missile defenses more than required under the New START 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 infrastructure for these crucial defense missiles are not subjected to hurried cutbacks that lack foresight.
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.”
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.”
Final passage of NDAA is slated for Friday.
Full transcript of Congressman Cramer’s floor speech on the ICBM amendment:
George Washington said, ‘To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.
Besides the United States and the United Kingdom, the rest of the world has never seriously considered entertaining the idea of eliminating nuclear weapons. China, France, India, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, and Russia are all engaged in maintaining, expanding, or modernizing their weapons programs. We should not continue down the path of reduction and degradation of our nuclear programs including this important ICBM force.
The cost of maintaining this force is minor compared to the price tag associated with rebuilding it should we judge incorrectly.
Some will argue the U.S. taxpayer is funding the maintenance of weapons never used. I submit, Mr. Chairman, that the U.S. taxpayer is funding the maintenance of weapons being used every day, successfully deterring our enemies from launching their own nuclear weapons.
Mr. Chairman, this amendment will save money and may very well save our country.