U.S. SENATE —U.S. Senator Steve Daines today announced the inclusion of his amendment to provide security for nuclear sites in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
“This will improve accountability and bring needed security improvements for our nuclear arsenal,” Daines stated. “We have an obligation to secure our nuclear weapons at Malmstrom and this will begin doing so.”
Daines’ amendment requires the Department of Defense to certify what security shortfalls the UH-1N has created, and how it will alleviate those risks with outside resources until the acquisition process for new helicopters is complete.
Daines has long been pushing the Air Force to choose the most expeditious path to replace the Vietnam-era UH-1N’s that provide security for our ICBMs.
On May 5, Daines sent a letter to the Air Force requesting the consideration of utilizing National Guard and their HH-60 Blackhawk helicopters.
On May 18, 2016, Daines led the bipartisan ICBM coalition urging the Department of Defense to outline a clear plan for the security of the nuclear missiles stationed in Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming following the news that the Department of Defense failed to approve the Air Forces’ request for a faster acquisition process.
In March, Daines led the Senate ICBM coalition in calling on the Air Force to expedite their decision on the course of action to replace Vietnam–era UH-1N helicopters.
The NDAA contains the following provision to strengthen nuclear sites:
REQUESTS FOR FORCES TO MEET SECURITY REQUIREMENTS FOR LAND-BASED NUCLEAR FORCES
(a) EXPEDITED DECISION FOR SECURING LAND-BASED MISSILE FIELDS.—To mitigate any risk posed to the nuclear forces of the United States by the failure to replace the UH–1N helicopter, the Secretary of Defense shall, in consultation with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—
(1) decide if the land-based missile fields using UH–1N helicopters meet security requirements and if there are any shortfalls or gaps in meeting such requirements;
(2) not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, submit to Congress a report on the decision relating to a request for forces required by paragraph (1); and
(3) if the Chairman determines the implementation of the decision to be warranted to mitigate any risk posed to the nuclear forces of the United States—
(A) not later than 60 days after such date of enactment, implement that decision; or
(B) if the Secretary cannot implement that decision during the period specified in subparagraph (A), not later than 45 days after such date of enactment, submit to Congress a report that includes a proposal for the date by which the Secretary can implement that decision and a plan to carry out that proposal.
(b) LIMITATION.—Of the funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act or otherwise made available for fiscal year 2017 for the travel and representational expenses of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, not more than 75 percent may be obligated or expended until the date on which the Under Secretary certifies to the congressional defense committees that there is an acquisition process in place to ensure that a UH–1N replacement aircraft is under contract in fiscal year 2018.