Decision on Minuteman to shape US nuclear policy for decades

WASHINGTON (AP) — For 50 years the Minuteman missile has been armed and ready, day and night, for nuclear war on a moment’s notice. It has never been launched into combat from its underground silo, but this year it became the prime target in a wider political battle over the condition and cost of the nation’s nuclear arsenal. Minuteman was not intended to last half a century, so it’s overdue to be replaced or refurbished. Some see this as a moment to push for scrapping it altogether, abandoning one leg of the traditional nuclear “triad” — weapons that can launch from land, sea and air. Most in Congress favor keeping the land-based leg by replacing Minuteman with a new missile. President Joe Biden’s position is not yet clear.