April 8, 2008
Washington, D.C.– Nevada Senators Harry Reid and John Ensign today sent a letter to Thomas P. D’Agostino, Undersecretary for Nuclear Security, expressing opposition to a recent report indicating the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is considering relocating the Tonopah Test Range out of Nevada.
“The Tonopah Test Range is an extremely important project that is critical to our national security efforts and to the well-being of the highly skilled Nevadans who are employed there,” said Reid. “Senator Ensign and I are working diligently to ensure the Tonopah Test Range stays in Nevada. We are calling on the Undersecretary for Nuclear Security, Thomas D’Agostino, to work with us to keep these highly skilled jobs here in the Silver State and find a solution that would advance the vital national defense research taking place at the test range.”
“The Tonopah Test Range has been an important tool in the United States’ defense infrastructure for more than half a century,” Ensign said. “It is in our national interest to continue utilizing its resources and transform it into an even more efficient base for defense research and development.”
April 7, 2008
Mr. Thomas P. D’Agostino
We are writing to you about the future of the Tonopah Test Range (TTR) and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) operations in Nye County, Nevada. As you know, we are very interested in securing the future of the NNSA in Nevada and maintaining the vitality and utility of the TTR. We strongly urge you to consider and implement long-term solutions that will keep the TTR and the Nevada Test Site (NTS) as integral and important parts of our critical national security efforts.
Since the 1950’s, TTR has been an important proving ground for various nuclear and conventional weapons systems developed by the United States. It is our hope that the Range and Nevada will continue to be a fundamental part of this national defense infrastructure. Recent reports indicate that the NNSA is undergoing a Nuclear Weapons Complex Transformation and is considering relocating important operations and activities out of Nevada to other locations in other states. You should know that we are opposed to this plan. Nevada has long served this nation’s various defense programs and that service should be respected. As United States Senators, we have always been vigilant supporters of military research and development programs and would be gravely concerned to see the NNSA move TTR operations out of our State.
Please know that we applaud the NNSA’s desire to become more efficient and believe that a solution exists to keep TTR operations in Nevada as part of any transformation process. We would support NNSA restructuring the programs at the TTR through a new agreement with the United States Air Force. By efficiently utilizing the resources at the TTR, we believe that the NNSA can continue to benefit from Nevada’s well developed military infrastructure and highly skilled workforce and TTR can continue to contribute significantly to the nation's defense needs.
We think you share our belief that robust defense research and development is critical to the future safety and security of our nation. Nevada and the TTR should be part of that future. We look forward to working with you as you evaluate the options.
RenoBruce R. Thompson
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