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America’s unnecessary $1 trillion nuclear missile splurge

missile-moneyAmerica Already Has More Than Enough Nuclear Missiles. FP.com BY ADAM SMITH, JUNE 17, 2016But Republicans are pushing a $1 trillion nuclear modernization program, which would not only bankrupt the Pentagon but could spark a global nuclear arms race.  This summer, Congress has been tying itself up in knots, trying to decide how to adequately fund U.S. national defense priorities, given the limits imposed by sequestration. But the difficult reality is that, however we choose to address immediate challenges, any rational attempt to plan for America’s future security must begin with a clear-eyed reassessment of the costs, trade-offs, and dangers of the trillion-dollar plan Washington is undertaking to modernize the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. That reassessment should include an effort to eliminate the new nuclear cruise missile.

This week, I co-sponsored an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that would cut funding for the development of this missile, the Long-Range Standoff Weapon, by $75.8 million. If adopted, that preliminary cut would have slowed its development by three years.
The United States needs a strong and credible nuclear arsenal. But our current nuclear forces are excessive. With over 5,000 deployed and stockpiled nuclear weapons — and thousands more awaiting dismantlement — we have a nuclear force stacked with redundancy. The “nuclear triad” that we would use to deliver these weapons consists of over 400 land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles on high alert and undetectable nuclear ballistic submarines, each armed with two types of warheads. We also deploy nuclear gravity bombs that could be delivered from bombers or fighter aircraft, and air-launched nuclear cruise missiles. In addition, the United States maintains nondeployed nuclear weapons that act as an additional hedge to our deployed nuclear weapons, along with thousands of nuclear components and, of course, the ability to build even more nuclear weapons.

The truth is that the United States can retain a credible nuclear deterrent with significantly fewer nuclear weapons and fewer delivery systems, at a fraction of the cost.

Instead, and with little debate, Congress has embarked on a plan to modernize all of these systems and increase these capabilities at an estimated total cost of $1 trillion over 30 years. This effort largely results fromdecisions made before the advent of the Budget Control Act and an ideological commitment to nuclear weapons by the Republican majority, which recently described them as our national security priority and “the foundation of all our defense efforts” in its security strategy. That plan means purchasing new nuclear weapons production facilities and labs, refurbishing warheads, land-based ballistic missiles, ballistic missile submarines, building new strategic bombers and nuclear-capable fighter aircraft, and, to top it all off, a new nuclear cruise missile.

These expenses will soon constitute a huge proportion of the U.S. defense budget: Yearly nuclear modernization costs will soon balloon and then more than double in the ensuing years, requiring at least $40 billion annually between 2024 and 2036, or nearly 10 percent of defense costs………

Now is the time for serious oversight and a realistic approach to these issues in order to stop an emerging arms race and avoid wasting billions of dollars we cannot afford. http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/06/17/nuclear-missiles-triad-congress-budget/

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June 17, 2016 - Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war

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