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Legislation from United States of America Senate

Smarter Approaches to Nuclear Expenditures Act

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Smarter Approaches to Nuclear Expenditures Act

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10/29/19

Introduced

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Introduced in Senate

Date: October 29, 2019

Content
Code:
116.S.2727
Subject:
Armed Forces and National Security
Smarter Approaches to Nuclear Expenditures Act
Date: October 29, 2019Official Title: To reduce spending on nuclear weapons and related defense spending and to prohibit the procurement and deployment of low-yield nuclear warheads, and for other purposes.Short titleThis Act may be cited as the "Smarter Approaches to Nuclear Expenditures Act".FindingsCongress finds the following:
  • (1) The Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the Soviet Union no longer exists, and the Cold War is over. The nature of threats to the national security and military interests of the United States has changed. However, the United States continues to maintain an excessively large and costly arsenal of nuclear delivery systems and warheads that are a holdover from the Cold War.
  • (2) The current nuclear arsenal of the United States includes approximately 3,800 total nuclear warheads in its military stockpile, of which approximately 1,750 are deployed with five delivery components: land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, long-range strategic bomber aircraft armed with nuclear gravity bombs, long-range strategic bomber aircraft armed with nuclear-armed air-launched cruise missiles, and short-range fighter aircraft that can deliver nuclear gravity bombs. The strategic bomber fleet of the United States comprises 87 B52 and 20 B2 aircraft, over 60 of which contribute to the nuclear mission. The United States also maintains 400 intercontinental ballistic missiles and 14 Ohio-class submarines, up to 12 of which are deployed. Each of those submarines is armed with approximately 90 nuclear warheads.
  • (3) The maintenance of this force comes at significant cost. Between fiscal years 2019 and 2028, the United States will spend $494,000,000,000 to maintain and recapitalize its nuclear force, according to a January 2019 estimate from the Congressional Budget Office. This is $94,000,000,000 higher than the Congressional Budget Office's 2017 estimate, with additional cost driven in part by the new nuclear weapons called for in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review. Over the next 30 years, the price tag is likely to exceed $1,500,000,000,000 and could even approach $2,000,000,000,000.
  • (4) Numerous United States Government officials have warned of the affordability problem posed by the current nuclear weapons sustainment plans, cautioning that these plans cannot be executed in the absence of significant long-term increases to defense spending or cuts to other military priorities. For example, Brian McKeon, former Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense stated in October 2015 that: "We're looking at that big bow wave [in nuclear weapons spending] and wondering how the heck we're going to pay for it, and probably thanking our lucky stars we won't be here to answer the question." Projected spending on the nuclear weapons budget has grown even larger since 2015.
  • (5) The projected growth in nuclear weapons spending is coming due as the Department of Defense is seeking to replace large portions of its conventional forces to better compete with the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China and as internal and external fiscal pressures are likely to limit the growth of, and perhaps reduce, military spending. "We're going to have enormous pressure on reducing the debt which means that defense spendingI'd like to tell you it's going to keep going up[but] I'm not terribly optimistic.", Alan Shaffer, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, said in February 2019.
  • (6) A substantial decrease in spending on the nuclear arsenal of the United States is prudent for both the budget and for national security. The Department of Defense's June 2013 nuclear policy guidance entitled "Report on Nuclear Employment Strategy of the United States" found that force levels under the April 2010 Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms between the United States and the Russian Federation (commonly known as the "New START Treaty") "are more than adequate for what the United States needs to fulfill its national security objectives" and can be reduced by up to below levels under the New START Treaty to 1,000 to 1,100 warheads.
  • (7) A December 2018 Congressional Budget Office analysis showed that the projected costs of nuclear forces over the next decade can be reduced by $8,000,000,000 to $9,000,000,000 by trimming back current plans, while still maintaining a triad of delivery systems. Even larger savings would accrue over the subsequent decade.
  • (8) Even without additional reductions below the New START Treaty limit of 1,550 deployed strategic warheads, the United States can save tens of billions of dollars by deploying those warheads more efficiently on delivery systems and by deferring production of new delivery systems until they are needed.
  • (9) President Donald Trump is proposing to expand the role of, and spending on, nuclear weapons in United States policy at the same time that the President has undermined critical arms control and nonproliferation agreements. The President has provided no clear indication that the President intends to extend the New START Treaty. The potential expiration of that treaty will remove all limits on the size of the United States and Russian nuclear arsenals, heightening further the risk of unconstrained nuclear weapons competition and even greater spending on nuclear weapons.Reduction of nuclear-Armed submarinesNotwithstanding any other provision of law, none of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for fiscal year 2020 or any fiscal year thereafter for the Department of Defense may be obligated or expended for purchasing more than eight Columbia-class submarines.Reduction of ground-Based missilesNotwithstanding any other provision of law, beginning in fiscal year 2020, the forces of the Air Force shall include not more than 150 intercontinental ballistic missiles.Reduction of deployed strategic warheadsNotwithstanding any other provision of law, beginning in fiscal year 2020, the forces of the United States Military shall include not more than 1,000 deployed strategic warheads, as that term is defined in the New START Treaty.Limitation on new long-Range penetrating bomber aircraftNotwithstanding any other provision of law, none of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for any of fiscal years 2020 through 2028 for the Department of Defense may be obligated or expended for purchasing more than 80 B21 long-range penetrating bomber aircraft.Prohibition on F35 nuclear missionNotwithstanding any other provision of law, none of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for fiscal year 2020 or any fiscal year thereafter for the Department of Defense or the Department of Energy may be used to make the F35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons.Prohibition on new air-Launched cruise missileNotwithstanding any other provision of law, none of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for fiscal year 2020 or any fiscal year thereafter for the Department of Defense or the Department of Energy may be obligated or expended for the research, development, test, and evaluation or procurement of the long-range stand-off weapon or any other new air-launched cruise missile or for the W80 warhead life extension program.Prohibition on new intercontinental ballistic missile