Rehberg reveals nat’l security ignorance in taxpayer-funded mailer

For Immediate Release
Thursday, March 22, 2012

BILLINGS, Mont. – Montanans for Tester is calling into question Dennis Rehberg’s understanding of America’s national security and the bipartisan New START agreement following an “absurdly false” claim in Rehberg’s latest taxpayer-funded mailer.

In the mailer, online HERE, Rehberg claims the bipartisan treaty “seeks to eliminate 150 intercontinental ballistic missiles at Malmstrom” Air Force Base in Great Falls, Mont. Malmstrom houses 150 of America’s 450 land-based nuclear missiles, called ICBMs.

When pressed by the Associated Press about where Rehberg got his information, he refused to disclose who told him that “that the true intent [of the treaty] is to gut Malmstrom, or whether [his sources] are sources inside the administration or how close to the decision they could be.”

“Dennis Rehberg flunked his homework on Malmstrom,” said Montanans for Tester spokesman Aaron Murphy. “Worse, he clearly doesn’t understand how this bipartisan treaty strengthens America’s national security. Now Congressman Rehberg is showing his ignorance about our security with an absurdly false claim in an effort to boost his own political campaign.”

Rehberg’s false claim is a direct contradiction to public statements from Pentagon leaders about the impact of the New START Treaty. Last year, Defense Secretary Robert Gates explained in multiple forums that under New START, the Air Force would retain between 400-420 ICBMs across the three ICBM bases. Gates and Defense Secretaries for the past five Republican U.S. presidents all support the treaty.

On the same day Rehberg was defending his false claim, Jon Tester called Montana community leaders to update them on the new C-130 mission he recently announced for Montana Air National Guard—also based in Great Falls.

Citing his recent phone call with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Tester said he is confident the eight cargo planes will move to Great Falls as planned.


New START: The Facts

  • The bipartisan New START agreement makes no mention of Malmstrom Air Force Base.
  • Air Force officials have said New START missile reductions would likely result in the three Air Force bases that house ICBMs to lose up to 10 missiles each.
  • Dennis Rehberg refused to disclose the source of his claim, which was sent to Montanans using tax dollars.
  • Former Defense Secretary Gates wrote in 2010, “[New START] preserves the U.S. nuclear arsenal as a vital pillar of our nation’s and our allies’ security posture.”