The Nuclear Question

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Sen. Heidi Heitkamp has officially announced her statement in regard to the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review.

As of Feb. 2, 2018, Sen. Heitkamp has released her official statement regarding the Nuclear Posture Review for 2018. The review examines current nuclear defense capabilities and sets the administration’s priorities for future U.S. nuclear strategy.

The statement follows Heitkamp’s bipartisan group meeting regarding implementation of new engines on B-52s, particularly those situated at the Minot Air Force Base. Here is what took place:

Where the senator stands

Sen. Heitkamp declared that the Nuclear Posture Review that was released Feb. 2, 2018, demonstrates the current administration’s commitment to modernizing our nuclear missions and maintains the mutual decision that a secure and effective nuclear force should remain one of the most important national security priorities.

“As long as our adversaries continue to build and maintain nuclear weapons in large numbers, a nuclear arsenal will remain an essential component of defending our nation and deterring rivals from attacking us or our closest allies,” the senator said in a press release.

Heitkamp added that the United States possesses one of the strongest nuclear arsenals and that the arsenal is one of our most significant tools against national enemies.

Additionally, Heitkamp continues to discuss that the airmen and women at the airbase in Minot, North Dakota will continue to play a crucial role in the mission.

What measures has Heitkamp taken?

Sen. Heitkamp has displayed much interest in North Dakota’s nuclear air base. She has recently led a bipartisan group of senators in calling for new and upgraded engines on the Air Force Base’s B-52s.  In order to complete this project, Heitkamp brought together a group of Republican and Democratic senators who called the Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney to include in the White House budget funding for all B-52 Stratofortress bomber modernization efforts. The budget includes at least $65 million for new engine development.

The Air Force has indicated that the B-52 will continue to be a significant component of the bomber force beyond the year 2050.

Additionally, Heitkamp has advocated for the Minot Air Force Base’s role in underpinning U.S. nuclear deterrence. In 2017, she played a large role in passing the defense authorization bill signed into law in 2017. This law included support for modernizing the nation’s B-52s and intercontinental ballistic missiles and paid particular interest for nuclear officers in Minot.

Finally, in September 2017, Heitkamp warmly welcomed U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis to Minot to support servicemembers at the Minot Air Force Base and reassert the administration’s commitment to a modernized arsenal.

The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review reflects key recommendations and accommodations in a report that Heitkamp and other members released in December 2016.

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