Idnittd States Senate

WASHINGTON, DC 20510

September 25, 2013 The Honorable Chuck Hagel Secretary of Defense 1400 Defense Pentagon Washington, DC 20301-1400 Dear Secretary Hagel, As members of the Senate Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Coalition, we write to make clear our strenuous opposition to a Department of Defense proposal to obligate funds for an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) on the elimination of ICBM silos as part of the New START Treaty implementation process.

We believe that this study is extremely premature, given that the Administration has not completed its implementation plan. Bipartisan provisions included in the House and Senate Defense Authorization and Defense Appropriations Acts have made the will of Congress quite clear: New START implementation should not proceed without more details about Administration plans, and no reductions below Treaty levels are in order without close consultation with Congress. The ICBM Coalition believes strongly that this is an issue of the highest priority, and feels that an Administration decision to conduct a study with prior-year or Continuing Resolution funding would represent a serious breach of faith.
ICBM silos are as much of an enduring strategic asset as are ICBMs themselves. Our nation's 450 ICBMs, while set in fixed locations, present through their numbers an insurmountable

targeting challenge for any adversary. Additional reductions below 420 would begin to simplify that challenge. By contrast, mobile ICBMs are central to Russia's strategic force, and China conducted another test of a mobile ICBM just last month. That said, while our nation's 450 ICBM silos are fixed, a force of 400 to 420 missiles need not be. Given the relatively low cost and very high value of each silo, maintaining all 450 of these silos - even if the deployed ICBM force is reduced - ensures our adversaries' targeting challenges. Maintaining silos also makes field maintenance more efficient and improves operational readiness. Furthermore, Treaty terms do not require the destruction of a single one of the 450 silos housing our Minuteman III force. New START responsibly differentiated between deployed launchers and total launchers, creating room for the United States to deploy just 400 to 420 ICBMs within the cap of 700 deployed launchers while retaining all 450 ICBM silos within the higher cap of 800 total launchers. Just as it does not make sense to reduce our deployed nuclear force below the Treaty level until we have a chance to measure the new global strategic balance, it does not make any sense to reduce our total launcher capacity beyond what is legally required. We strongly believe that considering any reductions below the Treaty level, with regard to either
deployed weapons or to total launchers, is a mistake.

As our nation continues to confront a host of strategic threats, from adversaries pursuing new nuclear capabilities to rogue nations and non-state actors seeking nuclear weapons of their own, the mutually supporting characteristics of the nuclear triad provides a critical deterrent.
However, further reducing the number of ICBM silos would directly compromise the most stabilizing and visible constant in our nuclear posture, and undermine the most powerful deterrent in our nuclear arsenal. That we cannot support.

Given the Defense Department's perceived intention to disregard Congressional will and move forward on the EIS, and considering the implications such a decision could have on our national security, we respectfully request an immediate response to this letter, and an assurance that such a premature and unnecessary move will not be carried out.
Thank you for your time and attention to this urgent matter.

Sincerely,

Senator Michael B. Enzi

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Senator Orrin G. Hatch

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Senate^ Mai^L. Landrieu

Senator Mike Johanns

Senator Deb Fischer

Senator Heidi Heitkamp

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