The Senate ICBM Coalition, in a white paper issued on Nov. 6, calls the nation’s Minuteman III force “the most stabilizing part” of the US strategic nuclear triad. As a result, the 10-member bipartisan group of Senators wants the United States to maintain the current inventory size of 450 missiles as one of the outcomes of a new agreement with Russia on nuclear warhead and delivery vehicle caps to succeed the START I Treaty that expires in December. There is “no inconsistency,” the coalition writes, between maintaining a 450-missile ICBM force and pursuing a START follow-on agreement. Arming each of the 450 MMIIIs with a single warhead, the coalition writes, would maximize the benefits of the ICBM leg, such as the “insurmountable challenge” it would pose to Russia or any other potential foe to knock it out completely due to the missiles’ wide dispersal.
Lockheed Martin is withdrawing personnel who support Iraq’s F-16 fleet from a major operating base because of threats from militias in the region, a step that will likely limit the fleet’s operations. The move comes after contractors left the base in recent months because of the threat from Iranian-backed militias.