BY: Alana Goodman
November 21, 2013
The Obama administration has drafted a plan to shutter an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) squadron three years after it assured hesitant lawmakers that the New START U.S.-Russia arms reduction treaty would not lead to deep cuts in the ICBM force.
A new timeline prepared by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon maps out a strategy to eliminate an ICBM squadron—and destroy its missile silos—by Dec. 5, 2017. An environmental assessment would begin next month.
The document says the reductions are necessary to “meet the New START Treaty compliance date by closing an ICBM squadron and eliminating the associated Launch Facilities.”
Several Democrats on the Senate ICBM coalition voted for New START, vowing that the treaty would maintain a strong ICBM force. Sens. Max Baucus (D.) and Jon Tester (D.), both from Montana, the home of many ICBMs, issued a press release in 2010 backing New START and saying that the missiles would “continue to play a key role in U.S. national security for decades to come.”
“There was some talk around this town about making deep reductions to the ICBM force,” Baucus said in the press release. “We made it clear to the president that was unacceptable, and fought hard to make sure the START Treaty recognized the critical role that ICBMs play in U.S. national security.”
Baucus and Tester did not respond to requests for comment.