Warm Silos to Cool Overenthusiasm

The United States shouldn’t hastily cut deployed nuclear forces ahead of the schedule agreed to under the New START deal with Russia, said Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) on Wednesday. Reductions to reach the treaty’s caps on warhead and launcher levels by February 2018 “should be made in ways that preserve the balance and not hamstring any one leg of the triad,” stated Hoeven during a Capitol Hill address sponsored by AFA, the National Defense Industrial Association, and Reserve Officers Association. Hoeven expressed concern that the Obama Administration is overeager to implement nuclear cuts and is even “wavering” on its commitment to sustain and modernize the deterrent force. With the ICBM force, for example, Hoeven said the United States “should retain all existing silos in a warm status that would allow us to rotate active missiles from one silo to the next.” He suggested this “would create ambiguity about the precise location of all of our missiles and allow major silo maintenance to occur without taking missiles offline.” Since nuclear deterrence has proven one of the most effective defenses available, and defending the nation is one of the government’s most basic Constitutional duties, “funding the nuclear enterprise is the definition of a top priority,” he said during his Feb. 6 talk.