Defense Department to push silo closures

In a news release issued Friday, Department of Defense spokeswoman Cynthia O. Smith confirmed that the department has recently requested the Air Force to begin an environmental assessment for the purpose of future force structure decisions.

The assessment will collect information from Minot Air Force Base, Francis E. Warren AFB in Wyoming, and Malmstrom AFB in Montana, on the effects of eliminating no more than 50 ICBM silos.

The information comes following a letter jointly penned by Senators Heidi Heitkamp, John Hoeven, Jon Tester and John Walsh, expressing opposition to such a move to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. The environmental assessment may be in violation of Section 8128 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act signed last month, which prohibits any defense funding from going toward such a study.

-Dan Rudy