CONTACT: Anna Schumann
(MAY 28 – WASHINGTON) Following the Biden administration’s release of its requested FY 2022 defense budget, Executive Director and former Congressman John Tierney released the following statement, based on a quick analysis from the team at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation:
TOPLINE TOTAL SPENDING:
“Spending $753 billion on defense, including $43.2 billion on nuclear weapons, simply cannot be considered the new normal, nor can the requested increase of 1.6% for the Department of Defense. This year could have — and should have — been a time to begin spending smarter, not spending more on defense. This budget could have reimagined national priorities to focus on achieving security and equity for all Americans; instead, it maintains the status quo of throwing more money at the Pentagon despite its continuing inability to account for its spending.
The continued commitment to multiple big-ticket weapons systems that entail cost overruns, waste and duplication, at the cost of hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars, when there are so many other areas that require immediate investment, is truly disappointing.
We are, however, happy to see an increase in State Department funding, which affirms that President Biden is more committed to finding diplomatic solutions to global problems than his predecessor was. We were also happy to see the elimination of the Overseas Contingency Operations account, long a slush fund for the Pentagon to use to evade accountability. Additionally, we applaud the administration’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, and look forward to the savings that will generate in both U.S. servicemembers’ lives and taxpayers’ dollars.”
“We are disappointed that the administration has decided to move full steam ahead in funding the new Ground Based Strategic Deterrent. This new intercontinental ballistic missile has been widely criticized for having been lobbied and rushed into development before a full government analysis could be produced to see if there are alternatives available, including extending the current Minuteman III missiles. As of 2012, Air Force spokespeople insisted that they “are basically new missiles” following a $7 billion overhaul, giving time for a thorough process to determine the future of America’s deterrent, rather than pushing through an expensive, unproven system.
Furthermore, defense and nuclear experts, including former Secretary of Defense William Perry, who helped developed the current U.S. nuclear triad, have said that the United States may no longer need ICBMs to deter nuclear rivals, and that these weapons could make us less safe. Overall, we feel that the administration missed an excellent opportunity to pause the development of this unnecessary relic of the Cold War, which will cost taxpayers some $264 billion dollars over its lifecycle.
Contrary to Biden’s campaign statements, this budget gives a pass to the military industrial congressional complex in that it continues to fund new weapons that are unnecessary for America’s security as well as programs that make America less safe while missing an opportunity to support more forward-looking security measures.”
STATE DEPARTMENT BUDGET INCREASE
“We are happy to see a State Department budget that more accurately reflects the need to prioritize diplomatic solutions to global problems. After the department was overlooked by the Trump administration, it’s imperative that President Biden continue to emphasize it by fully funding its needs. Historically, the U.S. derives much more security from the efforts of its diplomats to find peaceful solutions than from pursuing wasteful weapons programs.”
“The $20.4 billion requested for missile defense programs is a slight decrease relative to the fiscal year 2021 enacted total of $20.9 billion, which means the Pentagon is continuing to throw good money after bad. We are greatly disappointed that the Biden administration continues to support many of the additions in the 2019 Missile Defense Review. This budget continues exorbitant levels of spending on a layered missile defense, which, given current technology, adds nothing to the security of American citizens.
The level of spending for the ground-based midcourse defense system — charged with defending the U.S. homeland — remains roughly the same under the Biden administration as under the Trump administration. GMD is an unproven system and highly expensive, more indicative of wishful thinking than proven results. The Pentagon is again trying to develop a new kill vehicle for the system, after the last one was abandoned for good reason, following four years of delays and at a cost of $1.2 billion to taxpayers.”
COOPERATIVE THREAT REDUCTION (CTR) PROGRAM
“The Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program, otherwise known as the Nunn-Lugar Program, is the Defense Department’s flagship program to counter weapons of mass destruction and related threats, including dangerous pathogens like COVID-19. The Biden administration is requesting $290 million for the CTR program, a 33 percent cut from the enacted fiscal year 2021 level, a puzzling decision in a year when funding for diplomacy is up. The Trump administration also slashed funding for the program by 36 percent in the last fiscal year, but Congress wisely restored the funding. Especially as the United States continues to grapple with growing nuclear and biological threats and the pandemic, it is extremely disconcerting to see the new administration carry on with the trend of devaluing this critical program.”
“We are greatly disappointed in the decision to begin development of the new nuclear Sea Launched Cruise Missile program, a tactical nuclear weapon that was originally removed from the Navy under the H. W. Bush administration in 1991 then revived under the Trump administration. This weapon is a legacy of Cold War-era thinking, and would put nuclear weapons onto conventional navy ships — hamstringing their ability to carry out their important missions around the world. As a presidential candidate, Biden agreed that the United States does not need new nuclear weapons, so this decision to provide initial funding for the cruise missile runs contrary to his campaign promises and life-long history of being a champion for common-sense nuclear policy.”