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Associated Press, Published April 20 2013

Hoeven says missile silos should be kept

MINOT, N.D. — Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota has told the commander of the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command that the nation's missile silos are a long-term defense asset that should not be degraded.

The Minot Daily News reports the Republican senator told Lt. Gen. James Kowalski that he opposes any effort to reduce the number of nuclear missile silos. Hoeven says he will work on the Senate Appropriations Committee to oppose such plans.

Defense Department officials have said they want the Air Force to study the possibility of eliminating some intercontinental ballistic missile silos.

The 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base has 150 Minuteman III missiles in underground facilities in northwestern North Dakota. Hoeven says if the number of missiles is reduced, empty silos should be retained.