Published in DefenseOne on July 24, 2013
What Ash Carter Gets Wrong about Nuclear Weapons Spending
Historically, cost has not played a decisive role in the United States’ nuclear weapons policy. For most of the nuclear age, money for the nuclear enterprise was viewed almost entirely in the abstract: $1 million was just a number and budgets were deemed an irritant. As former Acting Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration Neile Miller told Congress earlier this year, the U.S. government didn’t spend much time “understanding the cost of things (nuclear weapons) because of the imperative to deliver during the Cold War.”
Fast forward to 2013. The immense cost of doing national security business figures much more prominently in the debate about defense policy. Due to sequestration, which if implemented permanently will take $500 billion out of military spending coffers over the next decade, everything is allegedly on the table.
One prominent defense official, however, has apparently taken it upon himself to protect nuclear weapons from the fiscal axe. Earlier this year, Deputy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said that nuclear weapons should be protected from budget cuts to the maximum extent possible. And last week, at the Aspen Security Forum, Carter continued his nuclear advocacy, telling New York Times reporter David Sanger:
Read the full OpEd here.