In a previous post Stephen Young and I looked at the overall changes in cost estimates for the NNSA’s 3+2 program to replace the entire nuclear weapons stockpile. As we noted, the FY16 Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan (SSMP) shows a significant increase in cost estimates for most life extension programs (LEPs) when compared with the FY15 SSMP, which showed a largely unexplained drop in cost estimates from those in the FY14 report. The newer cost estimates for individual programs have now increased to what may be a more realistic level, although don’t be surprised if there are further increases to come. Below is a look at some of the changes to individual LEPs from FY15 to FY16. Read More
September 16th, 2015
August 28th, 2015
Written with Stephen Young
The FY16 Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan (SSMP), released in March, is the latest in a series of these reports published annually by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the semi-independent agency that oversees production and maintenance of U.S. nuclear warheads, as well as the infrastructure required for these activities. Read More
January 26th, 2015
As I outlined in an earlier piece, President Obama has the opportunity to make significant changes in nuclear policy in the remaining two years of his presidency—changes that would make every American more secure, while also saving money and enhancing his legacy.
The first item on the list is to reduce U.S. long-range nuclear forces to 1,000 deployed warheads.
The third is something I find hard to believe we even need to recommend to this president, but we do: cancel the planned new nuclear-armed cruise missile. Read More
December 23rd, 2014
As I outlined in a previous piece, President Obama has the opportunity to make significant changes in nuclear policy in the remaining two years of his presidency—changes that would make every American more secure, while also saving money and enhancing his legacy.
The first item on the list is to reduce U.S. deployed long-range weapons to 1,000 warheads. This reduction can be made independent of any reductions by Russia, although ideally Moscow would follow suit. Read More
December 15th, 2014
With two years left in office, President Obama still has time to shape his legacy. Given the challenges presented by a Republican-controlled Congress, further legislative success is unlikely. But that still leaves lots of opportunities to act without Congress, as we are witnessing with climate change and immigration. There is another area where the president could enhance his legacy dramatically. It is also an issue to which President Obama has a deep personal commitment, where the authority is in his hands, and where he could direct changes that would make every American safer. Read More
August 11th, 2014
As has happened far too often in recent years, the appropriations process in Congress is a shambles. There is no chance that any of the thirteen annual bills that fund the U.S. government will be signed into law by the end of the fiscal year on September 30th. Instead, there will be a Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds the government at the same level as the current fiscal year. The only question is how long a time period the CR will cover.
Among the many reasons that this is unfortunate are the sound decisions on nuclear weapons programs that populate the Senate version of the Fiscal Year 2015 Energy and Water Development appropriations act and its accompanying report, including well-considered funding levels, that may never become law. Read More
March 24th, 2014
On March 26, the House Armed Services Committee is scheduled to have a hearing to receive words of wisdom from a Congressionally-mandated “Congressional Advisory Panel on the Governance of the Nuclear Security Enterprise,” which is government-speak for trying to fix the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). Read More
February 28th, 2014
With the FY14 Omnibus Appropriations bill finally passed in January, and a new budget proposal for FY15 coming up next week, now is a good time to take a look at where the FY14 chips have fallen, and what the approaching budget cycle may hold for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). Our previous post covered weapons programs, while this installment will look at the agency’s funding for nonproliferation programs.
February 27th, 2014
On January 16th, two weeks after the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2014 began, Congress passed the FY 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Act that will fund government operations through September 30, 2014. That action finally freed the government from a series of short-term funding measures and, it is hoped, will pave the way for a more normal budget process for FY 2015. This massive bill lumps together all eleven annual appropriations bills to cover funding for every federal agency, including the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). With the administration scheduled to put out its budget proposal for FY 2015 next week, we can now see where the FY 2014 chips have fallen, and get some idea of what the future may hold. Read More
February 19th, 2014
In January of 2013, the Air Force announced that it was conducting a “ground-based strategic deterrent analysis of alternatives,” which is military-speak for looking at options to replace the current silo-based, long-range Minuteman III missiles, which are armed with one to three nuclear warheads and deployed across the central plains of the United States. Read More