The roadmap ahead

Task Force 21, Minot’s base retention and new mission committee, in association with Peter Huessy, president of Geostrategic Analysis in Potomac, Md., and Brian Moran, a private consultant, is the main sponsor of a strategic nuclear enterprise symposium being held next month in Washington, D.C.

The Sept. 18 symposium features speakers who are distinguished in the strategic nuclear enterprise.

“This third symposium event Task Force 21 has sponsored, publicly presenting expert opinion and critical thinking about our nation’s strategic deterrent systems, is particularly significant in that it goes beyond the debate of whether we should have these systems, to focus on charting a realistic path into the future,” said Mark Jantzer, chairman of Task Force 21.

“It is a certainty that we need a practical and fiscally responsible plan to sustain and recapitalize our nuclear triad systems, which have successfully kept major powers war from occurring since the end of WWII. The central issue of the event is the plan for the triad into the future,” Jantzer said.

Speakers will include:

– Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration and under secretary of Energy for Nuclear Security, who was the first commander of Air Force Global Strike Command at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and a former commander of the 91st Missile Group (later redesignated 91st Missile Wing) at Minot AFB. He was sworn in for his position with the Department of Energy in April.

Minot AFB’s 5th Bomb Wing with its B-52s and the 91st Missile Wing with its Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles are units of Global Strike Command.

– Navy Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt AFB, Neb.

– Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command.

– Navy Vice Adm. Terry Benedict, director of the Strategic Systems Programs.

– Maj. Gen. Jack Weinstein, commander of 20th Air Force at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo.

– Maj. Gen. Garrett Harencak, assistant chief of staff for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration at Headquarters U.S. Air Force.

– Maj. Gen. Sandi Finan, commander of Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center at Kirtland AFB, N.M., and former vice commander of the 91st Missile Wing at Minot AFB.

– Navy Rear Adm. Joe Tofalo, director of Undersea Warfare Division at the Pentagon.

Topics covered will include modernizing the Navy’s and the Air Force’s strategic deterrent, sustaining the nuclear weapons stockpile and modernizing the nuclear weapons production infrastructure.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., and Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., are scheduled to present views from Congress on “Strategic Force Structure and Modernization.”

A panel will report on its new publication: “Nuclear Force Adaptability for Deterrence and Assurance: A Prudent Alternative to Minimum Deterrence.” Panelists will include Keith Payne, president and co-founder of the National Institute for Public Policy; retired Navy Adm. Richard Mies, former commander-in-chief of U.S. Strategic Command; Ambassador Robert Joseph, senior scholar at the National Institute for Public Policy who was born in Williston; and Frank Miller of Scowcroft Group.

Task Force 21 has sponsored three similar symposiums in Washington, D.C., and other locations including a nuclear triad symposium held in May 2013 in Minot.

Supporting sponsors of the Sept. 18 symposium are Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, ATK, Northrop Grumman, Draper Labs and Exchange Monitor.