Senators tell Hagel not to study ICBM cuts

“ICBM silos are as much of an enduring strategic asset as are ICBMs themselves,” the senators wrote to Hagel.

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“Our nation's 450 ICBMs, while set in fixed locations, present through their numbers an insurmountable targeting challenge for any adversary. Additional reductions below 420 would begin to simplify that challenge.”

The Senate Appropriations Committee has already included an amendment to its defense funding bill from Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) that blocked funding for the study.

The senators also warned the Pentagon not to use prior year funds for the study, which could be one way around Congress if it blocks funding.

The Senate’s ICBM Coalition members who signed the letter include Tester, Hoeven and Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).

Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) also signed the letter to Hagel.