Will ICBM Force Drop?

Congress decided that it will not let the Air Force reduce the Minuteman ICBM force from 500 to 450 missiles until it receives a report providing “detailed strategic justification”—something lawmakers say the Quadrennial Defense Review failed to provide. However, in the recently signed 2007 defense authorization bill, Congress only gave itself a 30-day window in which to review the report before it would let USAF spend money on missile withdrawal. Despite that short timeframe, the Associated Press now reports that lawmakers from ICBM states—Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming—feel renewed hope in light of North Korea’s recent nuclear weapon test. Sen. Kent Conrad (R-N.D.) told AP that a cut is still possible and the likely state to lose 50 missiles is Montana, which is home to the lone squadron whose MM IIIs employ a different control system.