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Energy secretary visits Minot AFB

Submitted Photo U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, center, and Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer and Gov. Doug Burgum visit Minot Air Force Base on Tuesday for a review of the base’s nuclear missions.

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE – U.S. Secretary of Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, along with Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer and Gov. Doug Burgum visited Minot Air Force Base on Tuesday.

Hoeven is a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources and Senate Appropriations Committees, and Cramer is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The group was at Minot AFB for a review of the base’s nuclear missions. Minot AFB is the only dual-winged, nuclear-capable base in the Department of Defense. The 5th Bomb Wing has B-52 bombers. The 91st Missile Wing has intercontinental ballistic missiles in underground facilities in several counties in northwest and north central North Dakota.

The Department of Energy is responsible for refurbishing and extending the life of the nation’s nuclear warheads, including those placed on the intercontinental ballistic missiles and cruise missiles.

“We appreciate this opportunity for Secretary Brouillette to see firsthand the integral role of the Minot Air Force Base in our nation’s nuclear defense,” said Hoeven. “The Department of Energy is an important partner with the Department of Defense in ensuring that our nation maintains a credible nuclear deterrent, as DOE designs and manufactures our warheads. DOE efforts to refurbish and extend the life of the ICBM and cruise missile warheads are critical to the future of Minot AFB and its nuclear missions, and I look forward to continuing to work with Secretary Brouillette to ensure that refurbished and modernized warheads are ready when the Air Force deploys the Long Range Stand Off nuclear cruise missile and the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, which is our next generation ICBM.”

“Airmen at Minot Air Force Base carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, knowing – should they need to be activated – it could be the world’s last moments. The Energy Department does an excellent job of making sure U.S. nuclear deterrence is not an empty threat, with civilians working around the clock for the last 70 years to build, maintain, and dispose of our nuclear weapons,” said Cramer. “Under President Trump and Secretary Brouillette, the Department is carrying out an important modernization effort, ensuring the safety, security, and reliability of the nation’s nuclear deterrent housed at strategic locations like Minot. I appreciate the Secretary coming to see this work firsthand.”

“Nuclear security is a critical component of our nation’s national defense, which is why DOE’s mission to maintain and modernize our nuclear stockpile is imperative to our national security,” said Brouillette. “It was great to be out in Minot, North Dakota, today alongside Senator Hoeven and Senator Cramer to see first-hand the incredible work the dedicated men and women of the Minot Air Force Base conduct day-to-day to keep our country safe and secure.”

Brouillette was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in December 2019 as the 15th secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Tuesday’s visit to Minot AFB was the first stop on the secretary’s visit to North Dakota, and was followed by energy roundtables held in the state, including lignite, oil an gas roundtables in Minot on Tuesday.

Hoeven invited Brouillette to come to North Dakota to see firsthand Energy Department priorities in the state, according to Hoeven’s office.

During the secretary’s visit, Hoeven also outlined provisions in the Senate’s fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to support Minot AFB and the Energy Department’s work.

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