Many More Minutes

Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton, US Strategic Command boss, says he hasn’t seen anything indicating that the Minuteman III missile cannot serve as a leg of the nation’s nuclear deterrent until 2030 as Congress has mandated. In discussions with the Air Force’s Minuteman overseers, “their view is that, with the appropriate investment, they can extend the life out to 2030,” Chilton said Nov. 10 on Capitol Hill. “Most of the investment,” he continued, “is not actually in the missile itself, but it is in supporting infrastructure,” like aging test equipment. Chilton said the Air Force is making those investments, leading him to have a “high” degree of confidence in the Minuteman’s long-term viability. However, he added, “I don’t think it is too early in the next year or two to begin thinking about” whether there will be a Minuteman follow-on and what it would look like. Continue