PENTAGON BUDGET BATTLE RAGES ON CAPITOL HILL
The House and Senate are in the process of considering the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), making plans for how to spend roughly $740 billion of your dollars. In the House version of the NDAA, a variety of amendments will be considered, including those that would:
- Prohibit funding for new explosive nuclear tests
- Reduce overall defense spending by 10% (excluding military personnel and defense health program account)
- Establish a policy framework for U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan
Meanwhile, the Senate is expected to conclude consideration of its version of the NDAA this week and it is still unclear whether any amendments will be considered. President Trump has already threatened to veto the bill over provisions that would mandate changing the names of U.S. military bases named after Confederate generals.
WHITE HOUSE PULLS BACK FROM DISCUSSION TO TEST NUCLEAR WEAPONS, FOR NOW
After reports that top Presidential advisors discussed conducting the first explosive nuclear weapons test since 1992 came out in May, the White House has now said that it doesn’t plan to conduct an explosive nuclear test “at this time.” This shouldn’t be a political issue: 72% of Americans oppose conducting a nuclear test. Further, if the United States conducts a nuclear test, it would almost certainly prompt a cascade of nuclear tests around the world.
IRAN’S NUCLEAR FACILITIES SEE MULTIPLE FIRES, IRAN BACKED FURTHER INTO CORNER
Over the past few weeks, a series of fires and explosions have popped up across Iran with little to no explanation. The sites range from hard military targets like Khojir missile production complex to softer targets like industrial infrastructure. Some attacks appear more sophisticated, specifically the explosion at the Natanz warehouse, which held advanced centrifuges. However, this incident did not affect Iran’s breakout time to a nuclear weapon, which is still estimated to be 2-4 months, a vast reduction since the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.
Some have posited that Israel may be behind these attacks. Low-level cyber warfare between the two rivals can be traced back to April when Iran attacked an Israeli water system, which threatened to increase the chlorine content to poisonous levels. However, this string of fires and explosions puts Iran on the horns of a dilemma. Either Iran does not respond, and the campaign continues, threatening more loss of lives and empowering its adversaries to sabotage more facilities. Or Iran responds, risking the complete collapse of the Iran nuclear deal and a military confrontation with Israel and the United States just weeks before a UN arms embargo on Iran is set to be lifted.
HOW YOU CAN HONOR NUCLEAR SURVIVORS
The Center is proud to join with other organizations coming together to honor the victims of 75 years of nuclear weapons production, testing, maintenance and use. On August 6 and 9, dozens of artists, speakers, activists and others who feel called to end nuclear threats will host a virtual event. Check out the website to learn more about the national event and smaller local events nationwide, read stories from nuclear survivors and learn about actions you can take to help reduce nuclear threats. The national event schedule is almost finalized, and the Council will be sending out more information as the event gets closer.
FOUNDER SOUGHT TO RID WORLD OF WEAPONS HE HELPED CREATE
Did you know that Leo Szilard, the founder of the Center’s political-action sister organization, Council for a Livable World, was a Manhattan Project nuclear physicist whose work led to the creation of the bomb? On July 17, 1945, the day after the first nuclear test, Szilard drafted a petition signed by 70 scientists urging President Harry Truman not to use the bomb to end the war in Japan without warning Japan first. That petition never made it to the President, who would drop bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki three weeks later. Szilard spent the rest of his life trying to convince the world about the dangers of nuclear weapons, and founded the Council in 1962. The Center separated from the Council in 1980 as a 501(c)(3) non-political, non-profit research organization. We are proud to carry on Szilard’s legacy today.
MY VIEW: Reflecting on Cape Cod’s Cold War nuclear history, writes Program Coordinator Abby Pokraka in her hometown newspaper.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula underscore the need for new negotiations, writes Policy Intern Zach Glass.
Nuclear testing: Just say no, writes Program Coordinator Abby Pokraka.