I’ve got a new article up over at the mothership on NoH BFF Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH). Here’s an excerpt:
Rep. Michael Turner’s (R-OH) love affair with nuclear weapons continues. His national security raison d’être appears to be to protect at all costs spending on an excessively large nuclear arsenal ill-suited to the current threat environment and oppose common sense, bipartisan steps such as the New START treaty that begin to put America’s nuclear posture on a 21st century footing.
On February 8, the Chairman of the House Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee announced that he plans to introduce an updated version of the New START Implementation Act following the release of the President’s budget on February 13.
Turner argues that a new version of the bill is needed because the administration’s FY 2013 budget request of $7.58 billion for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Weapons Activities account is less than the $7.95 billion called for as part of the November 2010 update to the Section 1251 report. All told the 1251 report calls for $88 billion in spending on NNSA weapons activities between FY 2011 and FY 2020. The FY 2013 request does not keep pace with this plan. According to NNSA, “the Administration will develop outyear funding levels based on actual programmatic requirements at a later date.” Within weapons activities, the request defers the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Facility (CMRR-NF), the new plutonium facility scheduled to be built at Los Alamos, by five years.
Turner claims that the U.S. shouldn’t implement the reductions required by the New START treaty (to say nothing about deeper reductions) without spending the amounts outlined in the 1251 report.
Like his previous efforts to constrain U.S. implementation of New START and future changes to U.S. nuclear posture, Turner’s latest gambit isn’t likely to gain much traction outside the House Armed Services Committee. Not only did Turner lose the funding battle when Congress passed the Budget Control Act, but preventing the reductions required by New START would undermine U.S. security.
Read the whole thing here.