map of ICBM silo locations in united states

What is an icbm?

An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is a land-based nuclear weapon. U.S. ICBMs are stored in underground silos across the Great Plains. Once launched, even by accident, they cannot be recalled. ICBMs are one leg of the nuclear triad.


Hundreds of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) wait in underground silos ready to be launched at a moment’s notice. Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wyoming, where the missiles are located, were nicknamed the “nuclear sponge” by nuclear war planners who intended the missile fields to “absorb” a Russian ICBM strike.

These weapons make it all too easy to start a nuclear war with a moment’s notice. 

Once launched, ICBMs cannot be recalled, and there are multiple documented cases where a launch order was almost carried out in response to a false alarm.

In the words of the late Daniel Ellsberg, “The chance that this system could explode ‘by mistake’ or unauthorized action in a crisis—as well as by the deliberate execution of nuclear threats—taking much of the world with it, has always been an unconscionable risk imposed by the superpowers upon the population of the world.”

Currently, the U.S. is on-track to “modernize”–replace–its ICBM force with new, Sentinel missiles. The program was initially estimated to cost nearly $300 billion, but the Air Force just announced that costs will be 37% higher than estimated, adding over $100 billion to the final price tag.

Current number of U.S. ICBMs
0 Kilotons
Maximum explosive power per warhead
(each ICBM has 1-3)
$ 0 Billion
Cost of replacement

The United States has spent nearly a century prioritizing arms racing over healthcare, education, housing, and every other possible priority, keeping the world constantly on the brink of self-destruction. It is time to eliminate these weapons and build a better world beyond the threat of ICBMs.

ICBMs Explained

Photos from Monthly ICBM Protests at Vandenberg SFB

To connect with organizers and learn more about monthly ICBM protests at Vandenberg Space Force Base, reach out to Ryan (at) RootsAction.org. Search and print signs on our print resources page

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ICBM Rally Signs (18x12) and Flyers (8.5x11)

These signs also print well at 11×17, which is a common size you can find at any FedEx Print store. If you go to a FedEx, we suggest printing “Custom documents”, using “Full Color”, and a paper type of “Laser (80lb)”, “Single Sided” no hole-punching, and a paper size of “11in x 17in”. These will cost between $2.50 and $2.75 each. However, if you have access to a local union print shop, we strongly suggest you contact them first for your printing needs. Click the signs to access and download the print-ready versions of the file. Right clicking and choosing “Save As” will not get you the print ready file.

Map of U.S. Nuclear Sites

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