Republicans block amendment to audit nuclear arsenal

The Republicans have moved to block an amendment which would audit the Pentagon’s thirty-year nuclear arsenal modernization program, a program which is estimated to cost $1 trillion.

Republican Michael Rogers (R-Ala.) opposed the amendment saying that reviewing the cost estimate for a 30 year plan would be unreliable.

“In all candor, a multi-decade cost estimate wouldn’t be worth the paper it was written on,” said Rogers. “This amendment would result in false, unreliable data in the public debate.”

Congress man John Garamendi (D-CA) condemned this as a fallacy.

“We’re going to spend an incredible amount of money on what amounts to a new nuclear arms race. It will take money from other programs. … We ought to be aware of it, but we will be blind to the total cost,” Garamendi said.

In any case, this program is just one of a number of big budget items that are on the books right now.

In October, Northorp Grumman was awarded an $80 billion contract to build a new series of stealth bombers, this on top of new carriers and fighter aircraft, there is worry that the Pentagon’s hunger for cash cannot be sustained.

Brian McKeon, principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, bluntly outlined the issue at an October nuclear security event.

“We’re looking at that big bow wave and wondering how the heck we’re going to pay for it, and probably thanking our stars we won’t be here to have to answer the question,” he added with a chuckle.

In a letter to President Obama in December, Democratic Senators like Al Franken, Patrick Leahy and also Independent Senator Bernie Sanders outlined how buying new nuclear weapons could make the U.S. less safe and start a new nuclear arms race.

“Building a new nuclear cruise missile would make our country less safe,” the letter claims. “Nuclear-armed cruise missiles are destabilizing because it is impossible to distinguish conventional from nuclear versions. This could result in dramatic escalation and potential devastating miscalculations in a conflict with another nuclear armed state.”

A recent report revealed that the Pentagon has gone three decades without an audit and that if it were audited today, perhaps trillions of dollars would be found to be missing.

 

[The Intercept] [Defense News] [Breaking Defense]