A House bill’s mandate that all nuclear missile silos be kept operational indefinitely has drawn opposition from some Democrats, Politico Pro reports.
The Republican-led House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces in its Wednesday mark-up and approval of annual defense policy legislation included a requirement that the Defense Department maintain each of the silos currently housing a Minuteman 3 missile at least in “warm” status regardless of whether the weapon at a later date is removed from the underground launch chamber.
In accordance with the implementation of the New START pact with Russia, the Pentagon last month announced that between now and 2018 it would withdraw and place in reserve 54 of the intercontinental ballistic missiles but would keep their silos ready for potential future usage. The House bill provision appears to go further than the Pentagon’s stated plan, though, by requiring that all of the approximately 450 silos be kept operational indefinitely.
“A congressional provision to indefinitely prevent the reduction of missile silos undermines our military’s ability to determine optimal force structure and adapt to our security needs,” U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) was quoted by Politico Pro as saying. “It is only sensible that as we reduce the number of our nuclear weapons, we maintain the ability to appropriately size our nuclear force structure.”
Michael Amato, a spokesman for U.S. Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), said his boss thinks the missile silo requirement would place “an unnecessary and significant financial and strategic burden” on the U.S. military.
Smith is the senior Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, and Sanchez sits on the panel’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee
Lawmakers from the three states that host the Minuteman 3 arsenal — Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming — have moved repeatedly to block any effort to reduce the Minuteman 3 arsenal.
What We're Following See More »
"A State Department audit has faulted Hillary Clinton and previous secretaries of state for poorly managing email and other computer information and slowly responding to new cybersecurity risks. ... It cites 'longstanding, systemic weaknesses' related to communications. These started before Clinton's appointment as secretary of state, but her failures were singled out as more serious."
Donald Trump "was on course to win more than three-quarters of the vote in Washington's primary" last night. Ted Cruz's defunct candidacy still pulled about 10 percent. "Cruz dropped out of the race on May 3, but won 40 of the state's 41 delegates up for grabs at last weekend's state GOP convention."
"What started as a calm protest outside Donald Trump’s rally Tuesday erupted into fiery violence as protesters jumped on police cars, smashed windows and fought with Trump supporters and police. Police faced such an angry crowd that they called in reinforcements from around the state, seeking to double their numbers to counter the protesters, whose numbers swelled beyond 600." Protesters threw rocks and bottles at police, who broke up several fights.