Bombs Versus Budgets: Inside the Nuclear Weapons Lobby
June 6, 2012 | Report
By William D. Hartung, Christine Anderson
The battle over deficits and defense has focused attention on the costs of nuclear weapons. Estimates of the full costs of nuclear weapons-related activities are hotly debated, but there is no question that they will reach hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.
At a time of tight budgets, there is a real possibility that some of the systems and facilities described so far could be reduced, delayed, or cancelled outright. For example, former Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General James Cartwright noted in July 2011, “The challenge here is that we have to re-capitalize all three legs [of the nuclear triad], and we don’t have the money to do it.” That same month, General Robert Kehler, the head of U.S. Strategic Command, asserted, “We’re not going to be able to go forward with weapon systems that cost what weapon systems cost today.”
This report provides a profile of the nuclear weapons lobby, noting along the way that in a constrained budgetary environment different parts of the lobby may either collaborate to promote higher nuclear weapons spending or compete for their share of a shrinking pie.