Washington DC – March 4, 2014 – Press Release – The President’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget request for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) continues the disturbing trend of prioritizing weapons over threat reduction and nonproliferation. The request increases weapons funding nearly seven percent while slashing nearly eighteen percent from core threat reduction and non-proliferation programs.
“Threat reduction should not be the bill payer for weapons modernization. This request craters non-proliferation programs that keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists,” said John Isaacs, executive director of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. “We should prioritize such programs that actively enhance national security instead of over budget, unrealistic and behind schedule nuclear weapons programs.”
In April 2009, President Obama committed the U.S. to a cooperative international effort to reduce the global threat of nuclear terrorism and proliferation and restated the importance of these objectives in a speech in Berlin in June of 2013.
“The President’s budget request undermines his own rhetorical emphasis on keeping the American people safe from the threat of nuclear terrorism,” said Kingston Reif, director of nuclear non-proliferation programs. “The fiscal 2015 request for the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, the most important nuclear and radiological security program, is roughly $700 million (or 70%) less than the funding level projected by the administration three years ago.”
Through the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, the United States has assisted twelve countries to remove all of their highly enriched uranium that could be fashioned into nuclear bombs. However, budget cuts over the past two years have played a role in delaying other key priorities, such as converting or shutting down dozens of reactors around the world that still use highly enriched uranium and securing buildings and facilities that house dangerous nuclear and radiological materials.
“These and other funding cuts demonstrate that the White House does not appear to have a strategy to build on the threat reduction success it achieved during its first term.” added Reif.
Additionally, the Pentagon side of the nuclear weapons enterprise escaped budget reductions.
“Despite cuts to many Pentagon programs, nuclear weapons appear to have come away relatively unscathed,” added Reif. The Center’s full analysis Pentagon’s funding for nuclear weapons related weapons systems is available here.
Further expert comments and booking arrangements can be made by contacting James Lewis. For ongoing analysis of the FY15 budget, visit the Center’s website (www.armscontrolcenter.org) and blog (www.nukesofhazardblog.com.)
####The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is a Washington-based non-profit think tank working to reduce the number of nuclear weapons stockpiled across the globe, increase international nonproliferation programs targeted at preventing the further proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear terrorism, redirect U.S. military spending to address 21st century security threats and halt the proliferation of biological and chemical weapons. www.armscontrolcenter.org