Congressmen Push Dueling Plans for US Nuke Arsenal

VP Candidate Sen. Kaine Among Advocates of Bigger, Costlier Program

A potentially massive expense which rarely gets a lot of debate, the question of America’s nuclear weapons “modernization” scheme is the subject of a pair of rival letters from Congressmen to the White House, advocating different approaches.

The first letter, signed by a bipartisan group of senators including Tim Kaine (D – VA), argues for massive expenditures to ensure the “interlocking triad” of US nuclear capabilities remains in place for decades to come, irrespective of the cost. Sen. Kaine was named just days ago as Hillary Clinton’s running mate in the 2016 presidential election.

The alternate letter, from a group of 10 Democrat senators including Edward Markey, Elizabeth Warren, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Al Franken, Ron Wyden, Jeff Merkley, Patrick Leahy, and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, argues for a substantial scaling back of the program.

The second letter makes mention of independent studies on the “modernization” program which suggest that over the next 30 years it could cost in excess of $1 trillion, and a move away from any return to the hair-trigger “launch-on-warning” system.

Though President Obama has styled himself as in favor of disarmament, he has mostly expressed support for the modernization plan. Recent comments making his position more ambiguous fueled the first letter, demanding he unconditionally support the costly modernization.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.