Reading Room

Congressionally ordered Sustainable Defense Task Force Report recommends a $26 billion decrease in US nuclear program over next 10 years

"Debt, Deficits, and Defense: A Way Forward" is a report by the Sustainable Defense Task Force, which was formed in response to a request from Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and several congressional colleagues.

While the majority of the report deals with U.S. Defense Department spending, it also touches on some of the Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration issues as well. Here, the report wisely recommends reducing spending on nuclear weapons activities by $26 billion over the next ten years.

To accomplish these savings, the report suggests curtailing construction of three costly, proposed nuclear weapons facilities; a new plutonium pit (bomb core) factory at Los Alamos in NM, a new uranium processing facility at Y-12 in TN, and a new Kansas City Plant in MO to manufacture the non-nuclear components found in nuclear weapons. The report further recommends foregoing a planned "upgrade" to the B61 nuclear bombs currently deployed in Europe.

From Tri-Valley CAREs' perspective, these recommendations conform with our own. They are sensible, doable and reflect 21st Century realities.

Our nation is not well served by spending billions of tax-dollars to increase the capacity to produce "new and modified" nuclear bombs. Instead, the country should concentrate on carefully maintaining the existing safety, security and reliability of nuclear weapons already in the stockpile, until such time as they are dismantled pursuant to U.S. obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

By limiting the U.S. nuclear weapons program in this manner, we the people will not only save billions in domestic tax-dollars each year, we will also be better able to leverage nonproliferation measures internationally. In our view, the U.S., as the only nation to have used a nuclear bomb in war (twice), we have a moral obligation to play a leadership role in moving the world toward a more secure future in which no nation possesses these horrific, devastating nuclear weapons.

To access a PDF of the whole report, click here. To check out the recommendation on the U.S. nuclear weapons complex and arsenal, for example, see section V, page 15.

Click here to read the Report.