Rehberg Original Sponsor of Legislation to Protect Malmstrom from Obama’s Planned Cuts Secures Modernization for Montana’s ICBMs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Montana’s Congressman, Denny Rehberg,  today introduced legislation with lead sponsor Representative Michael Turner (R-OH-03) to prevent reductions to ICBMs contained in the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) without modernization.  The legislation would also prevent the President’s more dangerous 80% reduction in nuclear forces that he’s reportedly considering.  Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls is home to the 341st Missile Wing which is at considerable risk of losing a primary mission just as the President is ordering one or more rounds of base closure recommendations.

“Who could disagree with President Obama’s rhetoric in support of a world without nuclear weapons,” said Rehberg.  “But we can’t put this genie back in the bottle.  As long as our enemies can get nuclear weapons, it’s naïve and dangerous to unilaterally disarm ourselves.  And it puts Malstrom Air Force Base and the entire Great Falls community at risk to boot.  New START is a mistake.  Defense cuts resulting from sequestration are a mistake.  Eliminating 80% of our nuclear force is a mistake.  And with the stakes this high, we can’t afford to be making mistakes.”

Before the Senate voted to ratify New START, President Obama promised to meet certain conditions.    It was this hollow promise that led some Senators to blindly support ratification of New START, thinking it did not pose a threat to national security.  In its report to Congress, the Administration promised “modernization” of “America’s nuclear arsenal,” at the same time it promised no “new” U.S. nuclear weapons or weapon capabilities.  Some Senators may have asked how you could modernize something at the same time that you refuse to develop new or updated technologies.

Unsurprisingly, little to no progress has taken place in the efforts to modernize the nuclear arsenal.

At the same time, the press has reported that President Obama asked the National Security Council (NSC) to develop a plan to cut the U.S. nuclear force by up to 80%.  This would go far from the reductions contained in New START and reduce our nuclear deterrent to around 300 deployed weapons, a level not seen since the early-1950s.

This legislation codifies the empty promises made by President Obama to the Senate to give them an excuse to vote for ratification of New START.  It creates a legislative link between nuclear modernization and the implementation of the New START reductions.

“Bad decisions in Washington have backed Malmstrom into a corner,” said Rehberg.  “I’ll fight to get us out of that corner and back into a position of strength.”

Section by Section Summary

Sec.____. Congressional Findings citing the detailed linkage between nuclear modernization and U.S. strategic force reductions.

Sec.____. Codification of Condition Nine of the Senate’s Resolution of Ratification on the New START Treaty.  The section further provides that Congress will not fund nuclear warhead reductions in any year in which the President’s modernization commitments in his section 1251 plan are not being requested and appropriated.

Sec.____. Congressional Findings citing the President’s previously stated policies regarding post-New START nuclear reductions.  This section further provides that Congress will refuse to fund the President’s ongoing review of the nation’s nuclear war plan, which reportedly could result in 80% reductions to the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, cannot be implemented by the Department of Defense unless Sequestration under the Budget Control Act has been eliminated and the President’s modernization commitments in his section 1251 plan are being requested and appropriated Further, Congress will not provide funding for the implementation of that review until, at least,  Congress receives a detailed explanation of the nature and reason for the proposed nuclear posture.

Sec.____. Congressional Findings citing the President’s previously stated policies regarding post-New START nuclear reductions.  This section provides that Congress will not fund the President’s ongoing review of the nation’s nuclear war plan, which reportedly could result in the Administration calling for reductions of 80% in the U.S. Nuclear stockpile, unless Sequestration under the Budget Control Act has been repealed and the President’s modernization commitments in his 1251 plan are requested and appropriated. Further, the Congress will not permit funding of the implementation of such review until Congress receives a detailed explanation for the nature and reason for the proposed nuclear posture and a year lapses to permit Congress to choose whether to allow recommended further reductions to be implemented.

Sec.____. Congressional Findings citing the President’s promises to modernize the U.S. nuclear weapons triad.  This section further provides that Congress will not fund the reduction of any U.S. nuclear weapons delivery systems unless the President certifies that modernization of the U.S. triad is occurring according to his 1251 plan.

Sec.____. Congressional Findings stating the importance of preventing Russian nuclear force superiority over the nuclear forces of the United States and other nations.  This section codifies Declaration Five of the Resolution of Ratification of the New START treaty by providing a limitation that nuclear force reductions should be implemented in such a way as to assure Russia does not deploy nuclear force levels superior to those of the United States.

Sec.____. Provides that the President must report to Congress, in any year he proposes U.S. nuclear force reductions; such report must detail developments in the nuclear forces of other states with nuclear weapons.  The Commander of U.S. Strategic Command must also assess whether or not such reductions proposed by the President will prevent the U.S. from responding to technical surprise in the reliability of U.S. nuclear forces or unplanned strategic or geopolitical events.

Sec.____. Congressional Findings citing the President’s promises to construct a new plutonium processing and uranium processing facility.  This section adds a limitation that no reductions to the U.S. nuclear weapons “hedge” – those nuclear weapons the U.S. maintains that are not deployed, or are in reserve status –  may be effected in any year absent the carrying out of the President’s promises to have the plutonium and uranium facility operational by 2021.

Sec.____. Congressional Findings regarding the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review’s proposal to de-MIRV, or remove Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles, from the U.S. Intercontinental Ballistic Missile force to promote strategic stability. The section will provide that Congress will not fund a proposal to de-MIRV the U.S. land-based deterrent if the Russian Federation and/or the People’s Republic of China are MIRVing their land-based nuclear forces.  

Sec.____.  States Congressional Findings and U.S. Policy regarding the U.S. extended deterrent in Europe.  The provision provides that Congress will not fund a proposal by the President to  relocate, consolidate or reduce U.S. forward-deployed nuclear weapons in Europe, absent the express wish of the host nation, a unanimous decision by the Alliance, or reciprocal actions by the Russian Federation regarding its vast asymmetry of thousands of tactical nuclear weapons.

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