April 30, 2015
We are writing to urge your support of the Quigley Amendment to the Fiscal Year 2016 Energy and Water Appropriations Act, H.R. 2028. This amendment would save taxpayers $167 million by maintaining the acquisition schedule for the nuclear-armed cruise missile nuclear warhead at the Fiscal Year 2015 request. The savings would go toward deficit reduction.
There is a great deal of uncertainty about whether the nuclear-armed cruise missile warhead life extension program is affordable, executable and necessary. Given this, it does not make sense to rush acquisition.
This year’s proposed budget request speeds up the new nuclear cruise missile by two years to FY2025 (from FY2027) even though the existing missile will be maintained until FY2030 and beyond. This unnecessary acceleration is being used to justify an enormous increase in funding from $9 million in FY15 to $195 million in FY16. The Quigley amendment would maintain the FY15 timetable, which would have funded the nuclear warhead at $28 million in FY16.
Underscoring affordability concerns, the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Report accompanying H.R. 2028 states that this life extension program will “require funding peaks that will compete with other planned major multi-year programs and projects,” such as the $10 billion B61 (gravity bomb) life extension program.
Between 2000 and 2005, NNSA spent $300 million on nuclear-armed cruise missile warhead refurbishment before abandoning the project because the Pentagon’s requirements changed. In addition, this agency has a history of inaccurate cost estimates. For instance, the B61 life extension, once estimated at $4 billion, is now expected to cost approximately $10 billion.
The cruise missile is just part of a growing list of nuclear modernization projects, including strategic submarines, nuclear-armed bombers, and intercontinental ballistic missiles, that together could cost up to $1 trillion over the next 30 years. The Pentagon has said these plans are unaffordable unless it gets an additional $10 billion to $12 billion annually beginning in 2021, on top of its full budget request.
Finally, it is unclear whether the United States needs a new nuclear-armed cruise missile. Even without the cruise missile, U.S. nuclear weapons can be delivered by air, sea, and land and the latter two options provide standoff capability. Yet, whether or not the nation moves forward with this weapon, it should only do so after ensuring that alternatives have been thoroughly examined. The Quigley amendment would avoid spending money on a program whose mission and affordability have not been fully justified.
Kingston Reif, Director for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy
Arms Control Association
Angela Canterbury, Executive Director
Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation & Council for a Livable World
Jonathan Bydlak, President
Coalition to Reduce Spending
David Culp, Legislative Representative
Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers)
Robert Naiman, Policy Director
Just Foreign Policy
Pete Sepp, President
National Taxpayers Union
Paul Kawika Martin, Policy Director
Danielle Brian, Executive Director
Project on Government Oversight
Catherine Thomasson, MD, Executive Director
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Ryan Alexander, Executive Director
Taxpayers for Common Sense
David Williams, President
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Lisbeth Gronlund, Co-Director,
Global Security Program
Union of Concerned Scientists
Stephen Miles, Advocacy Director
Win Without War
Susan Shaer, Executive Director
Women’s Action for New Directions
Becky Rafter, Executive Director
Georgia Women’s Action for New Directions
Jay Coghlan, Executive Director
Nuclear Watch New Mexico
Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center
Jon Rainwater, Executive Director
Peace Action West
Jerry Stein, Coordinator
The Peace Farm (Amarillo, Texas)
Physicians for Social Responsibility of Greater Kansas City (KS and MO)
Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles
Marylia Kelley, Executive Director
Tri-Valley CAREs, Livermore, CA