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President Biden’s budget backs new nuclear weapons, contradicting his policy while campaigning

Biden goes ‘full steam ahead’ on Trump’s nuclear expansion despite campaign rhetoric

The decision to retain a low-yield warhead that was outfitted on submarine-launched ballistic missiles in 2019, and to initiate research into a new sea-launched cruise missile, has sparked an outcry. Politico,  By LARA SELIGMANBRYAN BENDER and CONNOR O’BRIEN, 06/02/2021

President Joe Biden ran on a platform opposing new nuclear weapons, but his first defense budget backs two controversial new projects put in motion by President Donald Trump and also doubles down on the wholesale upgrade of all three legs of the arsenal.

The decision to retain a low-yield warhead that was outfitted on submarine-launched ballistic missiles in 2019, and to initiate research into a new sea-launched cruise missile, has sparked an outcry from arms control advocates and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, which is vowing a fight to reverse the momentum.

“The signal this budget is sending is full steam ahead: ‘We like what Trump was doing and we want to do more of it,’’ said Tom Collina, director of policy at the Ploughshares Fund, a leading disarmament group. “It is not the message Biden was sending as a candidate. What we have here is Biden essentially buying into the Trump nuclear plan, in some cases going beyond that.”

Emma Claire Foley, a researcher at Global Zero, a disarmament group, said the latest budget “essentially preserves the priorities of the Trump administration,” despite the new administration’s rhetoric about pursuing a more responsible nuclear posture.

During the 2020 campaign, Biden told the Council for a Livable World, an arms control group, that the current arsenal is “sufficient” and the United States does not need new nuclear weapons. In July 2019, Biden also called Trump’s move to introduce new capabilities a “bad idea.”

The Democratic Party platform in 2020 also bluntly stated that “the Trump Administration’s proposal to build new nuclear weapons is unnecessary, wasteful, and indefensible.”

The Democratic Party platform in 2020 also bluntly stated that “the Trump Administration’s proposal to build new nuclear weapons is unnecessary, wasteful, and indefensible.”

That includes modernizing all three legs of the nuclear triad: the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, which is the replacement for the fleet of Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles; the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines; and the new B-21 stealth bomber.

The budget also proposes $609 million for the Long Range Standoff Missile, which is designed to be outfitted on bomber planes. That’s $250 million more than what was projected by the Trump administration for fiscal 2022.

Most controversially, the Pentagon’s request maintains the W76-2 low-yield warhead that is now outfitted on submarines and sets aside $5.2 million for a new sea-launched cruise missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. Another $10 million is being requested for the warhead in the budget for the National Nuclear Security Administration, an arm of the Energy Department………….. https://www.politico.com/news/2021/06/02/biden-trump-nuclear-weapons-491631

June 3, 2021 - Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war

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