In the wake of the release of the Obama administration’s FY 2011 budget request, which includes a ten percent increase in funding to maintain our nuclear weapons stockpile and supporting infrastructure, Greg Mello took to the online pages of the Bulletin to posit and answer a question:
So how is the president’s budget compatible with his disarmament vision?
The answer is simple: There is no evidence that Obama has, or ever had, any such vision.
Center head honchos John Isaacs and Lt. Gen. Robert Gard took issue with this characterization and penned a short rebuttal, which the Bulletin published today. On the issue of whether there’s a contradiction between espousing disarmament goals and maintaining our deterrent, John and Gen. Gard write:
Mello sees Obama’s requested increase in the fiscal year 2011 budget for stockpile stewardship and the construction of new facilities at the nuclear laboratories as a commitment to the production of new nuclear weapons. Yet the administration has made clear that there are no such plans underfoot; the 2011 budget request states unequivocally that “new weapons systems will not be built.” As such, the president’s requested increase in nuclear expenditures should be viewed in the context of seeking ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and further nuclear weapon reductions.
More largely, there is nothing inconsistent between a vision of a nuclear-weapon-free world and ensuring a safe, secure, and reliable nuclear deterrent in the interim, including refurbishment of aging systems, providing the labs with facilities to replace their deteriorating physical plants, and maintaining the essential expertise that the scientists at the labs provide. Nor does such a deterrent require “unending innovation,” as Mello claims. Our current nuclear weapons inventory, validated by extensive testing, is more than adequate to deter the use of nuclear weapons against the United States, our troops abroad, and our allies, provided sufficient resources are dedicated to the Stockpile Stewardship Program. [emphasis mine].
You can read the full piece here.