A delegation representing Minot's Task Force 21 recently returned from Washington, D.C., where the base retention committee co-sponsored a symposium Thursday on the importance of nuclear weapons in America's arsenal.
The symposium developed in response to national groups that argue for unilateral disarmament.
"We just think it's a rash course. That's why we wanted to make this symposium happen," said Mark Jantzer, city alderman and chairman of Task Force 21. "What we wanted to see happen was that experts, who understand deterrence and the reason it has worked for 50 some years, have an opportunity to speak to that."
Other task force members attending the event were Mayor Curt Zimbelman, state Sen. Randy Burckhard, Wendy Howe, Pete Hankla, Bruce I. Christianson, Richard White and John MacMartin.
Minot Air Force Base is home to the 5th Bomb Wing and 91st Missile Wing, both of which have nuclear missions.
The half-day symposium featured remarks from Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Kent Conrad, D-N.D. Speakers included top Department of Defense officials and representatives of the Scowcroft Group, National Institute for Public Policy and other experts in defense programs. There was an in-depth discussion of the U.S. Strategic Triad, which includes bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
A replay of the symposium can be found online at the Reserve Officers Association website at (www.roa.org).
The symposium drew 192 registrants.
"We had an opportunity in a national media forum to help folks put their best foot forward, talking about the merits of the triad," MacMartin said.
A particularly strong case was made for the missiles, which are the lowest cost leg of the triad and create a difficult terrorist target with nearly 500 sites, he said.
McMartin said Minot's participation sent a message about the importance of the event. Current and retired military officers who attended were impressed to see a community the size of Minot supporting the symposium, he said.
The task force's sponsorship used a small portion of the $325,000 granted by the North Dakota Legislature in 2011 for Minot air base retention.