Senate Appropriators Target Nuke Storage Modernization

The Air Force must come up with a plan to update its five nuclear weapons storage sites within 90 days from the passage of the Fiscal 2015 defense appropriations bill, according to language inserted in the bill by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). In a statement, Landrieu said funding has been set aside for USAF to develop a “detailed plan” for modernization, including the currently unutilized storage area at Barksdale AFB, La., home of Air Force Global Strike Command and the 2nd Bomb Wing. Barksdale is currently second on USAF’s priority list for storage area upgrades, said Landrieu, who noted that currently B-52s fly to other installations to load nuclear weapons. USAF stores weapons at five installations, including its three missile wings at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., Malmstrom AFB, Mont., and Minot AFB, N.D., which also hosts a B-52 wing, in addition to Whiteman AFB, Mo., and Kirtland AFB, N.M. USAF has prioritized the nuclear mission and the need to refurbish its nuclear stockpile in the last several years, Landrieu said. Modernizing the Barksdale facility will give USAF the “broad and deep reach it needs to protect our nation and provide stability for our allies across the world.” (Link to Senate appropriations bill and summaries here). (See also Senate Panel Blocks A-10, E-3 Retirement and Senate Panel Approves 1 Percent Pay Raise.)