Science Group Urges Biden Administration to Reduce Spending on Nuclear Weapons

Statement by Stephen Young, Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Apr 9, 2021

WASHINGTON (April 9, 2021)—The Biden administration Fiscal Year 2022 budget overview released today indicates that its request for spending on the military will be even higher than the Trump administration’s last defense budget. As the final 2022 budget request develops, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) calls on the administration to make substantial cuts to the proposed $753 billion in military spending by significantly reducing funding for dangerous and unnecessary nuclear weapons, freeing up funds to better meet the nation’s many other challenges and opportunities.

In particular, UCS urges the administration to eliminate funding for the nuclear missile program known as the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) so it will be better positioned to advance President Biden’s spending priorities such as such as COVID relief, infrastructure, climate change solutions, and economic and racial justice.

In advance of the budget release, Sen. Edward J. Markey and Rep. Ro Khanna set a good example by recently introducing the Investing in Cures Before Missiles (ICBM) Act of 2021 that proposes eliminating all funding for the GBSD and diverting $1 billion of that money toward the development of a universal coronavirus vaccine.

Below is a statement by Stephen Young, senior Washington representative and acting co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“It is far past time for the United States to reconsider its nonsensical plans to spend a trillion dollars to build thousands of new nuclear warheads, hundreds of new long-range nuclear-armed missiles, a hundred long-range nuclear-armed bombers, and a dozen new submarines each carrying 16 nuclear-armed missiles. The world survived one massive nuclear arms race during the Cold War; but we should not tempt fate again. That money could be much better invested in protecting everyone in the United States from this pandemic and the next, from the ravages of climate change, and from the injustice of racial inequality.

“The poster child of wasteful spending is the proposal to spend $264 billion for a new land-based nuclear-armed missile. Those missiles, vulnerable to attack and kept on hair trigger alert, actually increase the risk of nuclear war rather than reduce it.

“The United States must stop relying on the Cold War-created threat of mutually assured destruction to maintain national security. Such a precarious approach risks fatal human error in defiance of all common sense.

“We call on the Biden administration to make major cuts to proposed nuclear weapons programs and start us on the path to actual national and international security.”