Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Obama Defunds Reliable Replacement Warhead Program

Obama effectively canceled the Reliable Replacement Warhead Program by not providing any money for it in fiscal 2010 budget. The Reliable Replacement Warhead Program is a project to develop new nuclear weapons that last longer, are more reliable, and do not need to be tested. The United States has not tested a weapon since 1992 and their is a fear regarding the reliability of the aging weapons. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has been pushing hard for this program.


"One particularly interesting angle here: Obama has overruled his secretary of defense, Robert Gates, who has been pushing for months to maintain the warhead program. Last October, Gates warned that

"[t]o be blunt, there is absolutely no way we can maintain a credible
deterrent and reduce the number of weapons in our stockpile without
resorting to testing our stockpile or pursuing a modernization

But even though "modernization" has now been halted, Obama will almost certainly not resume nuclear testing. So one has to presume Gates is not a happy camper on this score. 


As the reliability of our nuclear weapons comes into question, our deterrent effect diminishes. Without a Missile Shield (Berman Post: Obama to Drop Missile Shield For Russian Help Stopping Iran?), which we really need (Berman Post: Why we Need a Missile Shield), this could lead to disastrous consequences.

This does seem to be in line with "a world without nukes" which Obama professed a desire for (Berman Post: Obama Calls For "World Without Nuclear Weapons"). Well, at least a United States without reliable nukes or some other form of protection (namely a missile shield). I have zero confidence the other nations will give up their nuclear weapons.

In fairness to Obama, he did ask for "$143 million for advanced certification activities to ensure the viability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile without explosive testing" (http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20090511_8613.php). Clearly however, Robert Gates thought the Reliable Replacement Warhead Program was a much better choice.

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