(DECEMBER 15 — WASHINGTON) The Council for a Livable World, the oldest active non-partisan non-profit organization promoting policies to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear risks released the following statement by its Executive Director, former Congressman John Tierney:
“The Council for a Livable World strongly opposes the $768 billion National Defense Authorization Act that has now been passed by both the House and Senate. This bill, which authorizes defense spending at $25 billion over President Joe Biden’s initial request to support all the services’ wish list items, is a tremendous waste of taxpayer money that does little to keep the United States safe from the very real national security challenges that face us today.
All Americans should ask themselves some tough questions about the three-quarters of a trillion dollars being spent in the name of our national security. In a year in which we are ending the longest war in American history, how can we be spending more than the peak levels spent during the Cold War? Or how can it be that, as we continue to deal with a global pandemic that has killed more Americans than all of the wars in the 20th and 21st centuries combined, our leaders still think that spending billions more on an already bloated Pentagon budget is the best way to make us safer and more secure?
The Council is disappointed that President Joe Biden’s administration seems to have simply continued the poor spending decisions of the Trump administration on the premise that it will be able to address better policies after completion of its upcoming National Defense Strategy and Nuclear Posture Review in 2022. A Congress with Democratic majorities, however slim, failed to roll back the terrible nuclear policies and overall military spending despite the public campaign pronouncements of the President and a great many Democratic lawmakers. Consequently, the first year of this administration’s and Congress’ term has been a serious disappointment for those who care about reducing the risks posed by nuclear weapons worldwide.
America’s political leaders have so far failed to even take advantage of simple opportunities that would reduce nuclear tensions without affecting the U.S. deterrent or military force readiness like:
- reversing the deployment of Trump’s low-yield W76-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile nuclear warhead;
- cancelling a new, unnecessary and wasteful nuclear submarine-launched cruise missile to be used on conventional U.S. Navy vessels;
- and forgoing a new life-extension program for the outdated B83 megaton gravity bomb.
Instead, these Trump administration programs are all moving forward, and they will remain an impediment to America’s need to engage nuclear dangers head-on and find diplomatic solutions to the world’s most challenging problems.
There remains hope that, following the anticipated National Defense Strategy and Nuclear Posture Review, Congress and the Biden administration can recommit themselves to a more sensible national security and nuclear policy. The next NDAA must confront the failures in this bill, take bold action to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in the forthcoming Nuclear Posture Review, and live up to President Biden’s campaign pledge to make a lasting impact on this issue and make the world a safer place.”