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Cheyenne leaders say missile base still desirable and vital

Cheyenne leaders say missile base still desirable and vital

Sep 24, 2013 - The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- A Cheyenne business group has launched a website to make the case for U.S. land-based missiles, a third of which are operated from F.E. Warren Air Force Base in the city.

The Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce website is designed to counter arguments that the U.S. should reduce or eliminate its nuclear arsenal.

The 90th Missile Wing at Warren operates 150 Minuteman missiles with nuclear warheads. They're deployed in silos in Wyoming, Nebraska and Colorado.

"We feel there is a lot of misinformation out there from folks trying to get rid of the (intercontinental ballistic missile) mission," said Dale Steenbergen, president and CEO of the chamber. "They are very persistent, and we don't think the discussion is very balanced."

The Air Force says the base contributes more than $360 million annually to the area's economy. Shutting down Warren would devastate the area financially, Steenbergen said.

"To have that money disappear overnight would be huge," he said. "So it is certainly important to us, but its impact on the security of our nation is even more important."

The website focuses on geopolitical arguments.

It says, among other things, "The facts are clear that having nuclear weapons and constant innovation in weaponry provides our nation with security."

The website's name, Global Zero Truth, is an apparent reference to a group called Global Zero, which advocates for eventually eliminating U.S. nuclear weapons.

Global Zero argues that intercontinental ballistic missiles are obsolete.

"The thing about the Minuteman force is they were really designed exclusively for a large-scale war with our Cold War adversary in Russia," said Bruce Blair, co-founder of Global Zero.

"It is very difficult to make the case that (the ICBMs) have any other real flexibility beyond that mission," he said.

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