Replacing Minuteman III

The Minuteman III will have a difficult time surviving in the active anti-access, area denial environment of the future, which makes it critical that the US have the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent fully operational by 2030, Gen. Robin Rand, the commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, told the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, on Tuesday. “We must continue efforts to modernize the Minuteman III weapons systems, where appropriate, until we bring the ground based strategic deterrent online. This is an absolute critical national interest that will provide strategic deterrence, and if needed, global strike, for years to come,” Rand said. “The Minuteman III with each year becomes more and more obsolete, and I am concerned that if we don’t replace it … we will not be able to provide the capabilities that are needed.” Upgrades to the Minuteman III in lieu of replacement would likely be very costly and also wouldn’t give the Air Force the capabilities it needs, Rand said. (See Also: Budget Reaffirms Commitment to Nuclear Enterprise)