Hoffman Sees ICBM Sustainment Issues

During a Sept. 14 panel discussion about USAF’s aging systems, Gen. Donald Hoffman, head of Air Force Materiel Command, which has just taken over nuclear system sustainment after the service’s recent round of reforms, said he has “considerably less” confidence in sustaining the Minuteman III force beyond its projected 2020 date to meet the new 2030 date Congress now wants to see. Speaking at AFA’s Air & Space Conference, Hoffman said that aside from platform modernization and infrastructure issues, he remains concerned about the viability of the “bang for the buck”—the warheads built, sustained, and maintained through a partnership between the DOD and DOE. Just like a host of industrial base issues now being confronted across DOD, the institutional knowledge, human capital, and infrastructure required to continue to support a safe and reliable nuclear weapons complex is a matter for concern, said Hoffman.