Obama missed his last opportunity to bring down unsustainable nuclear weapons spending trajectory

The Fiscal Year 2017 proposal contains significant increases for several Defense and Energy department nuclear weapons systems pursuant to the Obama administration’sredundant, all-of-the-above approach to remodeling the arsenal. (See chart). The request does not make significant changes to the planned development timelines for these programs.

The president missed one of his last opportunities to make common sense adjustments to the current nuclear weapons spending trajectory.

According to a Congressional Budget Office report in January 2015, the direct costs of the administration’s plans for nuclear forces will total about $350 billion between fiscal 2015 and fiscal 2024. Over the next 30 years, the bill could add up to $1 trillion, according to three separate independent estimates.

Though the president and his military advisers have determined that the deployed strategic nuclear arsenal can be reduced by up to one-third below the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) levels of 1,550 deployed strategic warheads and 700 deployed strategic delivery systems, the proposed spending is based on maintaining the New START levels in perpetuity. …

In short, the current nuclear spending plans are a fantasy. They can only be achieved in the event of substantial and prolonged increases to overall military spending over the next decade (an unlikely prospect), or if nuclear programs are funded at the expense conventional modernization or other national security programs (a reckless and self-defeating prospect). The most likely outcome is that the current plans will collapse under their own weight and force reductions in U.S. nuclear forces based on fiscal and political pressure rather than strategic decision, but not before hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are squandered.

Last Obama Budget Goes for Broke on Nuclear Weapons