Senator Markey Leads Call to Cut Wasteful Nuclear Expenditures, Urging Cancelation of Proposed Nuclear Warhead and Air-launched Missile


Runs 12/18/15 through 12/25/15

(THEME UP AND UNDER) This is the CCNS News Update, an overview of the latest nuclear safety issues, brought to you every week by Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety. Here is this week’s top headline:

  • Senator Markey Leads Call to Cut Wasteful Nuclear Expenditures, Urging Cancelation of Proposed Nuclear Warhead and Air-launched Missile

Senator Edward J. Markey, of Massachusetts, led a group of eight U.S. Senators in a letter urging President Obama to cancel the proposed long range stand off (LRSO) nuclear capable warhead and the proposed nuclear air-launched cruise missile on which the warhead would be launched. The Pentagon requested that the proposed missile be developed to replace an existing air-launched cruise missile.

Recent reports reveal administration plans to build and buy 1,000 to 1,100 new nuclear cruise missiles estimated to cost between $20 and $30 billion. The development of the proposed long range stand off warhead would increase U.S. nuclear air-launched cruise missile capacity by nearly 200 percent.

In the letter, the Senators explained that this new nuclear weapon does not reflect current U.S. national security needs, is redundant with existing nuclear and conventional options, and could lead to dramatic escalation and potentially devastating miscalculations with other nuclear-armed states because a nuclear-armed cruise missile is indistinguishable from a conventional cruise missile.

They added, “Outdated and unnecessary nuclear weapons are relics of the past. We should not revive and waste money on the security tools of the past and rob future generations who will have to bear the burden of this useless spending.…Your administration should instead focus on capabilities that keep our economy and defense strong while reducing the role of nuclear weapons.”

The Senators referenced the early days of the Presidency in 2009 when Obama spoke in Prague. In that speech, President Obama conveyed his commitment to “reduce the role of nuclear weapons in [U.S.] national security strategy.” They reminded the President of the Administration’s 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, which stated that programs to maintain nuclear weapons “will not support new military missions or provide for new military capabilities.”

Nevertheless, it is estimated that the U.S. will spend over $1 trillion in the next 30 years on nuclear weapon modernization.

Those signing the letter include California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer; Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley; Vermont Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernard Sanders; and Minnesota Senator Al Franken.

CCNS reached out to our New Mexico Senators to learn their position on the proposed warhead and missile. A staffer for Senator Tom Udall responded in an email, stating, “The Senator supports the nuclear modernization efforts of the [National Nuclear Security Administration] and the [Department of Defense]. These programs are an important part of the nuclear security enterprise.”

CCNS did not receive a response from Senator Martin Heinrich’s office.

Joni Arends, of CCNS, encouraged New Mexicans to contact our Senators and encourage them to support cancelation of the proposed nuclear warhead and air-launched cruise missile.



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