Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Nuke Updates Moving Forward: Obama Insiders
High-level administration officials on Thursday attempted to deflect GOP accusations that President Obama has moved only tentatively to update the U.S. nuclear arms complex as he seeks stockpile curbs exceeding the mandates of a treaty with Russia, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, June 20).
The administration in 2010 announced a 10-year, $85 billion nuclear weapons complex spending plan as it sought to secure Senate endorsement of the New START accord. The pact, which entered into force in February 2011, requires Moscow and Washington by 2018 to reduce their respective deployed strategic arsenals to 1,550 warheads and 700 delivery devices.
Some GOP observers commended President Obama's call to spend $7.6 billion on pursuing the plan in fiscal 2012, though it had previously projected a $7.9 billion expenditure in the coming budget cycle (see GSN, March 15). Republican legislators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, though, said Obama officials failed to adequately push for the proposed amount and ultimately accepted a $7.2 billion funding level in approved legislation.
"It seems like things are being slow-walked," Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said of U.S. atomic arsenal update activities. "And I almost wonder whether as the president is announcing further reductions, the reason that much of the modernization is being slow-walked is that there's no intention to follow through, and they actually hope to come up with more reductions so that much of the modernization that we're talking about does not have to take place."
Obama is seeking $7.6 billion for nuclear arms complex funding for fiscal 2013, which begins on Oct. 1. His administration had previously projected requesting $7.9 billion, AP reported.
"They put no effort whatsoever into trying to make [its proposed funding level] happen. None. Zero," Corker told AP.
Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) said he had "to understand the president's remarks to [then-Russian President] Dmitry Medvedev a few months ago when behind his hand when he thought the mike was off he said, 'Let us get this election behind us and I'll be more flexible' (see GSN, May 24).
"I understood that statement to be in reference to missile defense, but I don't totally know," the lawmaker said. "But we cannot afford to be in the business we are in on this committee or as a country and be counting on one representation for meeting commitments while on the other hand we're seeing a wink and a nod to the other side."
The federal government is committing substantial funds and pursuing updates to four-fifths of the nation's atomic armaments, National Nuclear Security Administration head Thomas D'Agostino contended during the committee hearing.
"It's about spending the dollars wisely and doing it in a way that we can ensure that the taxpayers are getting what they need and we continue to support the stockpile and get that done," added the official, who leads the semiautonomous Energy Department office responsible for the nation's nuclear weapons complex (Donna Cassata, Associated Press/Google News, June 21).
Separately, U.S. acting Undersecretary of State Rose Gottemoeller touted inspections practices under the U.S.-Russian strategic arms control treaty.
"Our experience so far demonstrates that the New START's verification regime works and will help push open the door to new and more complicated verification techniques in the future," she said in testimony to the Senate panel (U.S. State Department release, June 21).
The pact has resulted in 25 snap audits of delivery systems, bomber installations, trial sites and other locations, AP quoted Gottemoeller as saying (Cassata, Associated Press).
Assistant Defense Secretary Madelyn Creedon said the country "is on track to complete the reductions necessary to comply with the New START treaty's central limits by February 2018.” U.S. Ohio-class submarines would host 240 ballistic missiles, and as many as 60 bomber aircraft and 420 ICBMs would remain in place under the Pentagon's blueprint, a press release quotes her as saying.
"To meet the treaty's central limits,” Creedon stated, “the Obama administration plans to convert or eliminate a yet-to-be-determined combination of ICBM launchers and SLBM launchers (and) our nuclear-capability heavy bombers.”
"As the president's budget request for fiscal year 2013 makes clear, [the Defense Department] is committed to modernizing the delivery systems covered by the New START treaty that underpin nuclear deterrents,” she said (U.S. Defense Department release, June 21).
Building Mutual Security in the Euro-Atlantic Region: Report Prepared for Presidents, Prime Ministers, Parliamentarians, and Publics
April 3, 2013
This report is the result of a Track II dialogue including distinguished former senior political leaders, senior military officers, defence officials, and security experts from Europe, Russia, and the United States.
April 2, 2013
An op-ed in The International Herald Tribune urging today's leaders to move decisively and permanently toward a new security strategy in the Euro-Atlantic region.
This article provides an overview of the United States’ historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.