This week, House and Senate appropriators will vote on how much money to spend on the B61 gravity bomb, a $10 billion program to upgrade a weapon that President Obama said last week he wants to reduce. Given the high cost of this effort, the declining military justification, and the fact that less expensive alternatives exist, Congress should scale back this program dramatically.
As the possibility of automatic cuts looms over the ongoing debate on reducing U.S. defense spending, the former head of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) has called for cutting the nuclear weapons budget by roughly $120 billion over the next two decades.
Volume 3, Issue 7, May 8, 2012
Tomorrow, the House Armed Services Committee is scheduled to approve its version of the fiscal year (FY) 2013 defense authorization bill. Committee chair Buck McKeon (R-Cal.) and strategic forces chair Michael Turner (R-Ohio) are expected to add $3.7 billion more than the Defense Department requested. This includes hundreds of millions of dollars for nuclear weapons and missile defense programs that the military does not want and the nation cannot afford.
After months of review and debate, a bipartisan Senate majority approved the resolution of ratification for the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) on Dec. 22, 2010. But now, Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) and the leading critic of New START in the Senate, Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), are trying to rewrite New START policies and understandings approved only six months ago.
Cameron’s Oct. 19 address marked the conclusion of a broad reassessment of British strategic and defense policy. The National Security Strategy, published Oct. 18, assessed threats and set strategic priorities; the Strategic Defense and Security Review, released the following day, detailed the steps that the government will take in accordance with those priorities.
Volume 1, Number 3
Eighteen years after the last U.S. nuclear test, it is abundantly clear that maintaining the reliability of existing U.S. nuclear warheads does not depend on a program of nuclear test explosions. Over the past decade the U.S. Life Extension Program has successfully refurbished major warhead types, and with sufficient resources can continue to do so indefinitely.
The 2008 National Defense Authorization Act requires the next secretary of defense, in consultation with the secretaries of energy and state, to conduct a comprehensive review of the nuclear weapons posture of the United States. (Continue)
The Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) as envisioned by the Bush administration is effectively dead. This past fall, for the second year in a row, the Democratic Congress zeroed out funding for the RRW program despite Bush administration claims that extending the life of the current warhead types in the U.S. nuclear stockpile would, at some distant point in the future, lead to a sharp uptick in aging-related defects. (Continue)
In an October 28 speech to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace entitled "Nuclear Weapons and Deterrence in the 21st Century," Secretary of Defense Robert Gates noted the continued importance of U.S. nuclear weapons for deterring possible opponents and for reassuring allies that they do not need to develop their own weapons. He argued that, to carry out these responsibilities, a Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) as well as a modernized complex for nuclear weapons that would allow the building of new weapons without nuclear explosion testing are needed. (Continue)