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USA Democrats bring in Bill to oppose new nuclear cruise missile

Democrats renew attack on new nuclear cruise missile, Defense News, By: Aaron Mehta, 8 Mar 17 WASHINGTON — Hours after top Pentagon officials traveled to the Hill to defend the need for a new nuclear-capable cruise missile, a group of nine Democratic Senators has introduced legislation to slow the development of the system, known as the Long Range Standoff Weapon, or LRSO.

The bill, headlined by Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and announced Wednesday, would cap funding for the LRSO and its associated warhead at 2017 levels until the Trump administration submits its Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) to Congress.
“If the United States wants other countries to reduce their nuclear arsenals and restrain their nuclear war plans, we must take the lead,” Markey said in a statement. “Instead of wasting billions of dollars on this dangerous new nuclear weapon that will do nothing to keep our nation safe, we should preserve America’s resources and pursue a global ban on nuclear cruise missiles.” 

Capping the LRSO spending at 2017 levels would restrict the Pentagon to spending $95.6 million for the weapon itself, and hold the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration to $220.2 million for the life-extension program on the W-80-4 warhead. Such levels likely mean a log-term delay for the development of the weapon, which is in its early stages of design and development.

The LRSO program aims to replace the air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) program with 1,000 to 1,100 cruise missiles that represent the Air Force’s standoff nuclear delivery capability. The ALCM is set to expire around 2030.
The non-proliferation community has pushed against the LRSO, arguing it is an inherently destabilizing weapon, as any nation the U.S. could threaten with conventional cruise missiles could mistake those weapons as nuclear and escalate accordingly. ……

Joining Markey in backing the bill are Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; Al Franken, D-Minn.; Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.; and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. While Sanders is technically an independent, he caucuses with the Democratic Party and waged a hard-fought war for the Democratic nomination during the last presidential election.
A recent review by the Congressional Budget Office puts the price tag for modernizing the nuclear enterprise at $400 billion over the next decade, with further costs down the road. .

March 11, 2017 - Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war

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