Think Before You Act: The ICBM force "is stabilizing, lethal, responsive, and highly credible," but may be coming under increased attack for reduction or all-out elimination due to increasing pressures on the defense budget and those who favor the United States reducing its nuclear deterrent even more, said Maj. Gen. William Chambers, who oversees nuclear and strategic matters on the Air Staff. In Fiscal 2011, maintaining the Air Force's fleet of some 450 Minuteman III missiles cost only one percent of the service's overall budget, Chambers told attendees of AFA's Air & Space Conference outside Washington, D.C., on Sept. 18. "That's not a lot of money," in the grand scheme of national security for the capability this fleet provides, he said. Even if overall size of deterrent force is reduced, maintaining the triad and an ICBM force "remains the safest, more prudent course of action," said retired Lt. Gen Frank Klotz, former head of Air Force Global Strike Command. Eliminating the ICBMs would make it much easier for an adversary against the United States by taking away the vexing challenge of having to factor a force of single-warhead missiles spread out over an area "roughly the size of Pennsylvania," he said. "Why in heaven's name would we ever want to do that?" asked Klotz.
Daily Report: Read the day's top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
Daily Report: Read the top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
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