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Carter visits Minot, emphasizes nuclear mission

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. (AFNS) -- Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited Minot Air Force Base Sept. 26, giving Airmen who support the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missile and strategic bomber forces a chance to engage with him.

During the visit to the 5th Bomb and 91st Missile Wings, Carter emphasized the importance of the Defense Department’s only dual-wing, nuclear capable installation.

While touring a missile alert facility in rural North Dakota, Carter witnessed firsthand the work Airmen accomplish on a daily basis, and emphasized the importance of their roles in defending the U.S.

“This is the most important mission we have,” Carter said. “I’m proud of you, and I appreciate you guys.”

The secretary mirrored those feelings while meeting with 5th BW Airmen, as he toured a B-52H Stratofortress and the weapons storage area. He recognized outstanding performers from both the 5th BW and 91st MW for their commitment to the mission.

“America’s nuclear deterrence is the bedrock of our security and the highest priority mission of the Department of Defense,” Carter said. “It’s a mission that demands unparalleled excellence; excellence that you define. We count on you for that.”

Carter said for more than seven decades, the nuclear deterrence mission has given nuclear enterprise options directly to the president of the United States. He also explained how Minot AFB’s mission plays a part in all other DOD missions.

“On a broader, operational level, on more day-to-day basis, you enable American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines to accomplish their conventional missions around the world,” he said.

Carter concluded with remarks on the need to constantly enhance the nuclear missions, and keep them a priority.

“How we deter cannot be static,” Carter said. “It must adapt as threats evolve, while continuing to preserve strategic stability, reinforcing nuclear restraint rather than inviting competition or attack. That’s important because it illustrates how strong deterrence doesn’t lower the threshold for nuclear war, instead it raises it.”

Carter thanked the Minot AFB community and stressed their impact on the mission.

“For all Americans, and for that matter, all people all over the world, the bedrock of security you provide has enabled millions and millions to get up in the morning to go to school, go to work, to live their lives, to dream their dreams and to give their children a better future,” he said.