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U.S. Democrats introduce Bill to stop nuclear missile funding, switch funding to universal Covid vaccine development

Democrats call for $1bn shift from weapons of mass destruction to ‘vaccine of mass prevention’

Democrats call for $1bn shift from weapons of mass destruction to ‘vaccine of mass prevention’  Guardian, Julian Borger in WashingtonSat 27 Mar 2021

Investing in Cures Before Missiles Act would stop funding on ballistic missile and help develop a Covid vaccine   Congressional Democrats are introducing legislation to transfer $1bn in funding from a controversial new intercontinental ballistic missile to the development of a universal Covid vaccine.

The Investing in Cures Before Missiles (ICBM) Act, introduced in the House and Senate on Friday, would stop funding on the proposed new missile, known as the ground-based strategic deterrent (GBSD) which is projected to cost a total of $264bn over its projected lifespan, and discontinue spending on a linked warhead modification program.

Instead, the life of the existing US intercontinental ballistic missile, the Minuteman III, would be extended until 2050, and an independent study commissioned on how best to do that.

“The United States should invest in a vaccine of mass prevention before another new land-based weapon of mass destruction,” Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts, co-author of the bill, said.

“The ICBM Act makes clear that we can begin to phase out the cold-war nuclear posture that risks accidental nuclear war while still deterring adversaries and assuring allies, and redirect those savings to the clear and present dangers presented by coronaviruses and other emerging and infectious diseases.”

Arms control experts say static intercontinental ballistic missiles, of which the US has 400 in silos across the northern midwest, are inherently destabilizing and dangerous, because a president would have just a few minutes to launch them on the basis of early warning signals of an impending enemy attack, or risk losing them to a pre-emptive strike. They point to a history of near-launches based on defective data, and the risk of cyber-attacks distorting early warning systems.

“With all of the global challenges we face, the last thing we should be doing is giving billions to defense contractors to build missiles we don’t need to keep as a strong nuclear deterrence,” Ro Khanna, Democratic congressman from California and the bill’s co-author in the House, said.

In September 2020, Northrop Grumman was awarded an uncontested bid for the $13.3bn engineering, manufacturing and development phase of GBSD, after its only rival for the vast contract, Boeing, pulled out of the race complaining of a rigged competition………

March 30, 2021 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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