Nuke modernization - sequestration disconnect Into Thin Air
"Congress and Obama are planning Reagan-era expenditures to modernize U.S. nuclear weapons under sequestration-era budgets. What could possibly go wrong?"
Jeffrey Lewis looks at the numbers and finds they don't add up. Something will have to give... (article)
New CBO Report Dec 20, 2013: U.S. nuclear weapon plans to cost $355 billion over a decade Reuters: The Obama administration's plans for the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, including modernization of bombs, delivery systems and laboratories, will cost the country about $355 billion over the next decade, nearly $150 billion more than the administration's $208.5 billion estimate in a report to Congress last year; since the modernization effort is just beginning, costs are expected to greatly increase after 2023. (read more)(View/download CBO report-PDF)(analysis: Are New Nuclear Weapons Affordable?)
Nuclear Watch Press Release, Dec. 21, 2013: Nuclear Weapons "Modernization" Will Cost One Trillion Dollars Over Thirty Years; Locally, Los Alamos Lab Cleanup and Job Creation Are Imperiled (View/download NWNM Press Release PDF)
Related: The "3+2 Vision" for U.S. Nuclear Forces
John R. Harvey of the Department of Defense spoke to a breakfast seminar in Washington DC June 13 on "...progress we have made over the past year, under the auspices of the DOD-DOE Nuclear Weapons Council, in advancing what we call the '3+2' vision for the future nuclear stockpile, and in developing a 'baseline plan' to start down the path to get there."
View/download full text of Harvey's remarks (PDF)
"No decrease in the number of warheads"
- Senator Diane Feinstein, speaking on a conference call November 13th: "While I support reductions to the stockpile and the savings that come with it, the 3+2 plan requires spending tens of billions of dollars more on life extension programs as well as increasing technical risks such as design changes... The promise of the 3+2 plan was to provide a smaller stockpile in exchange for a larger investment. However, when the plan is examined, there is no decrease in the number of warheads... In addition, sequestration, shrinking budgets and NNSA's long history of cost overruns and schedule delays raise serious concerns about the agency's ability to execute this mission." (ref)
Nuclear Weapons Lobby Reportedly Spent $2.9 Million To Stave Off Military Cuts
"The nuclear weapons industry is erecting a missile shield of money to prevent federal government spending cuts worth billions of dollars. In the 2012 election cycle, nuclear weapons lobbies have given a total of $2.9 million to key members of Congress and deployed no fewer than 137 revolving-door lobbyists to Capitol Hill, according to a new report that details the lengths to which arms makers will go to protect their turf."
(story) "Bombs Versus Budgets: Inside the Nuclear Weapons Lobby", prepared by the Center for International Policy. (download PDF)
Jay Coghlan on the Nuclear Defense Industry
KSFR Santa Fe: Living on the Edge, October 17, 2013. David Bacon with Jay Coghlan, NukeWatch E.D. (online podcast)
Successful Citizen Activism Against
Expanded U.S. Plutonium Pit Production
This is the unsung story of successful citizen activism against repeated government attempts to expand the production of plutonium pit cores, which has always been the choke point of resumed U.S. nuclear weapons production. This history is a critical part of the march toward a future world free of nuclear weapons. We gratefully dedicate it to Leroy Moore, longtime activist with the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, and J. Carson Mark, retired director of the Los Alamos Lab's Theoretical Division and ardent arms control advocate.
(View/download full report- PDF)
"The people who are the most anti-nuclear are
the ones who know the most about it." -Eric Schlosser, author, "Command and Control" (ref)
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New & Updated
Sept 8, 2014: Scotland Votes to Stay in the UK
Trident's berth in Faslane appears secure- for the time being.
By a vote of 55% Scotland has elected to stay in the UK. Scottish National Party chairman and Scotland's first Minister Alex Salmond has announced his resignation. Trident's berth in Faslane appears secure- for the time being.
However, the Trident issue may not rest. Andrew Hammond writing at CNN:
"Although America will be reassured by the result, some concerns will remain- particularly about Britain's military capabilities, including the future of its nuclear arsenal, which is located in Scotland.
"This is particularly so in the context of the current 2015-16 UK Strategic Defence and Security Review, which will feature further cuts. Some in Washington (along with other allies) will remain apprehensive about the future of the UK Trident nuclear deterrent which is due for potential renewal in coming years.
"A further potential complication here is that Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond ran the "Yes" campaign on a pledge that Scotland would become a non-nuclear nation within five years under independence. Given the significant support for this proposition, and the fact that most of Britain's Trident submarines are based in Scotland, there may be growing pressure for relocation of these bases in coming years, despite the failure of the pro-independence movement to secure a majority." (ref: CNN)
Arthur West, chairman of the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament had this to say:
"Despite the referendum results we are proud to have been part of the dynamic and creative movement for Yes. A large number of people are disappointed that there their hopes of creating a nuclear-free independent Scotland were dashed. However, the energy of the Yes campaign has given new life to our struggle to remove Trident from Scotland and there has been heightened interest in the cost and risk of basing nuclear weapons on the Clyde. We know that opposition to Trident is even stronger than support for independence. Over the coming weeks we will be considering how best to take forward our campaign to rid this land and the world of nuclear weapons." (ref).
Background:The U.K.'s nuclear weapons are in Scotland.
The governing Scottish National Party has deemed the Trident nuclear weapons base "an affront to basic decency", and has set a target date of 2020 for the closing of the base at Faslane and the nuclear weapons depot at nearby Coulport. The Trident submarine is the UK's only nuclear deterrent system, and the only base is in Scotland.
From "Scotland's Future" published by the Scottish government in 2013:
"Scotland has been home to one of the largest concentrations of nuclear weapons anywhere in the world, despite consistent and clear opposition from across civic Scotland, our churches, trade unions and a clear majority of our elected politicians. Billions of pounds have been wasted to date on weapons that must never be used and, unless we act now, we risk wasting a further £100 billion, over its lifetime, on a new nuclear weapons system. Trident is an affront to basic decency with its indiscriminate and inhumane destructive power."
And in an echo of current debates in the US security establishment:
Tommy Sheridan, Hope Over Fear tour, 2014
"Westminster's commitment to nuclear weapons leaves other aspects of our defense weakened. Costs for the successor to Trident are to be met from within the defense budget, taking money from conventional equipment and levels of service personnel. The Royal Navy will have two new aircraft carriers years before it has the aircraft to put on them. Cost overruns are endemic and major projects have been significantly delayed. Scotland can do better." (more)
Retired NATO generals and British unionists have denounced the Scottish intention to evict the Trident nuclear base while also wanting to remain in NATO, insisting that nuclear weapons "are the bedrock" of the alliance and the guarantor of the security of every member, implying that Scotland wants a free ride, even though most NATO countries are not themselves nuclear powers (member states Lithuania and Iceland even prohibit nuclear weapons on their territory). David Blair, chief foreign correspondent for the Telegraph, wrote that Scotland's "great achievement would be to ensure that the Tridents providing Scotland's nuclear umbrella would be based in America and commanded from Washington, instead of being located in Faslane and commanded from London." (ref)
- See UK Parliament white paper:"Scotland, the nuclear deterrent and NATO membership".
- Nuclear Watch's Jay Coghlan on the Watchblog, Sept 5:
- Scottish Independence and U.K. 'Modernizing for the Second Nuclear Age'
U.S. underwater nuclear test Baker, view from Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands, July 25, 1946
Nuclear Watch New Mexico Amicus Brief Filed in Marshall Islands Lawsuit "The U.S. and other nuclear weapons powers have not acted in good faith"
Sept. 1, 2014. Nuclear Watch has filed an amicus brief ("friend of the court") in the Marshall Islands' lawsuit challenging the failure of the nuclear weapons states to meet their NonProliferation Treaty obligation to pursue negotiations in good faith leading to nuclear disarmament.
In support of the Marshall Islands, Nuclear Watch informed the court of U.S. plans to spend more than one trillion dollars over the next three decades for "modernization" of nuclear weapons, missiles, subs and bombers. Our brief also argued that current "Life Extension Programs" are endowing existing nuclear weapons with new military capabilities, despite denials at the highest levels of government.
The Marshall Islands were the U.S. site in the Pacific Ocean for testing new, huge hydrogen bombs from 1946 to 1958, including the Bravo test, the largest ever carried out by the United States. For a gripping documentary on the suffering of the Marshall Islands people see the awards-winning film Nuclear Savages by Santa Fe resident Adam Horowitz (more info and trailer at NuclearSavage.com)
"It is clear that the nuclear-armed states are not pursuing negotiations in good faith to end the nuclear arms race and to achieve complete nuclear disarmament, as they are obligated to do under Article VI of the treaty... Instead of negotiating disarmament, the nine countries are modernizing their nuclear arsenals, spending $1 trillion on those arsenals over the next ten years." -Foreign Minister Tony deBrum. (ref)
- September updates from Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
- Latest on the Lawsuit: NuclearZero.org
Sept. 2, 2014. In the Matter of James E. Doyle - Dana Allin, Editor, Survival "It is obvious that the real reason for Doyle being investigated and fired is not that he revealed secrets, but that he advocated nuclear disarmament...The classification system... is notoriously overused as a tool not just for protecting legitimate secrets but also for illegitimate censorship. 'Why Abolish Nuclear Weapons?' is, as far as I know, the only Survival article to have been classified by an agency of the US government. There is room for debate on the wisdom and feasibility of nuclear abolition, but before joining that debate, Doyle's article is required reading. Just don't get caught." (article)
July 31, 2014: Policy Specialist James Doyle Fired by LANL for Nuclear Weapons Critique and Support of Obama's Reduction Goals "It sure looks like he's being fired for supporting the President's policy." -Jon Wolfsthal, special adviser on nuclear matters to Vice President Biden, 2009 to 2012
" ... two members of a Security Inquiries Team abruptly arrived with a special, silver-colored briefcase for secure documents, and pulled out an article he published a few days earlier on the website of a London nonprofit group.
"They claimed that the article, an impassioned critique of the political theories undergirding the nuclear arms race and a defense of President Obama's embrace of a nuclear weapons-free future, contained classified information.
"The assertion astonished Doyle, since the laboratory's security authorities had already reviewed the article and declared it unclassified. But it was the start of a series of events in which Doyle first had his pay docked and his security clearance withdrawn, and then eventually was fired."
(ref: Public Integrity, July 31) "The world must reject the myths and expose the risks of the ideology of nuclear deterrence if it is to meet the challenges of the Twenty-first Century."
- From Doyle's original 2013 article: "Why Eliminate Nuclear Weapons?" James E. Doyle, a nuclear security and non-proliferation specialist, had been at Los Alamos National Laboratory for 17 years. He is the editor of Nuclear Safeguards, Security, and Nonproliferation: Achieving Security With Technology and Policy (Elsevier, 2008). UCS, August 4, 2014: Los Alamos, Freedom of Speech, and Nuclear Disaster
-Lisbeth Gronlund, co-director, Global Security Program, Union of Concerned Scientists.
Related: Nuclear Watch NM Press Release July 31, 2014: LANL Fires Nonproliferation Specialist; Lab Abuses Classification Procedures to Restrict Nuclear Weapons Abolition Message
"Santa Fe, NM - Today, the Center for Public Integrity broke a story on how Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) fired its nonproliferation specialist James Doyle. That firing followed an inquiry by the Center to senior Lab management about a study Doyle completed in his personal capacity arguing for the abolition of nuclear weapons. LANL retroactively classified his report, which Nuclear Watch believes is a clear abuse of proper classification procedures..."
Nuclear Watch New Mexico Press Release June 27, 2014: Missed WIPP Deadline May Put Real Cleanup at LANL Back On Track
"After granting more than one hundred extension requests to delay cleanup, we salute the New Mexico Environment Department for denying further requests. We encourage NMED to enforce what it already has, and make LANL comply with its legally mandated cleanup order. This in turn will drive increased federal funding for genuine cleanup at the Lab, creating hundreds of jobs while permanently protecting our precious water and environment." (View/download the 6/27 press release) Update Sept 5: Flynn accuses feds of blocking WIPP probe
"New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ryan Flynn warned that Los Alamos National Laboratory and WIPP could face steeper sanctions from the state because of what he characterized as Energy Department roadblocks that have protracted the probe."
"Massive" Upgrade For B-2 Stealth June 25:
Air Force officials have started planning a ten billion dollar modernization of the B-2 stealth bomber fleet to include a new receiver using VLF waveform technology that allows the bomber to receive messages in the event of a high altitude electro-magnetic pulse, and outfitting the aircraft for next generation digital nuclear weapons such as the B-61 Mod 12 with the new tail kit, and Long Range Stand-Off weapons- (air-launched nuclear cruise missiles).
The B-2 "Spirit" was first produced in 1989 at a cost per plane of $2.2 billion.
The Air Force had expected to field a fleet of over 130 B-2s, but failures by Northrop Grumman and the Air Force to keep it under budget, along with the end of the Cold War, led the Pentagon to cut the fleet to 21.
Kris Osbor, writing in DODBuzz.com, spoke with Eric Single, chief of the Global Strike division for Air Force acquisition. In addition to the LRSO, B83 and B-61 Mod 12, the B-2 will also carry the B-61 Mod 11, a 'penetrator' nuclear weapon, and a wide range of conventional weapons, including precision-guided 2,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or JDAMs, 5,000-pound JDAMs, Joint Standoff Weapons, Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles, GBU-28 5,000-pound bunker buster weapons, and the 30,000-pound conventional bomb known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator. (ref)
Defense Bills Would Create Separate Fund for New Ohio-Class Nuclear Submarines
Each U.S. strategic submarine has 16 missile tubes. Each missile can carry up to 14 independently targeted nuclear warheads, each more than 6 times as powerful than the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
"The creation of a National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund to pay for an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine replacement could significantly alter the typically underfunded Navy shipbuilding account, while also establishing a precedent that other military services may attempt to leverage in years to come.
"Gordon Adams, who once oversaw the Pentagon's budget while at the OMB, noted that the implications are far-reaching. He argues that the Air Force might seek a separate account for a new strategic bomber or a new intercontinental ballistic missile, and the Navy might seek an account for a Trident ballistic missile replacement, all programs with national strategic military implications..."
-Frank Oliveri, CQ Roll Call, 6/9/14 See also: July 11, 2014, Lawrence Wittner,
"A New Generation of Nuclear Subs"
Related, October 2013: How to Avoid a $60 Billion Bailout for Navy SubmarinesRoll Call, Oct. 1
"If you really want a future world free of nuclear weapons, you can hardly make a better investment than to give to Nuclear Watch New Mexico. They need and deserve your support so that they can carry on their groundbreaking work. I urge you to be generous with them!" - Danielle Brian, Executive Director, Project on Government Oversight.
September 21, 2014: No Nukes, No Coal, No Kidding!
People's Climate March, New York City, Sunday, September 21st.
(more info at NIRS)
September 26, 2014: International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
Established by the United Nations General Assembly. In March 2014, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (comprising 164 member parliaments), adopted a resolution which, among other things, calls on parliaments and parliamentarians to commemorate the day. (More info at UNFOLD ZERO).
Pres. Obama, Prague, April 5, 2009:
"Now, let me describe to you the trajectory we need to be on. First, the United States will take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons. To put an end to Cold War thinking, we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, and urge others to do the same..."
Maj.Gen. Harencak, Sept. 18, 2014:
"We have to convince the American people, folks in our government and folks in our own military of the incredible relevancy of a nuclear deterrent today and in the future... Unless we do that, it's going to be much more difficult to ... defend America in the coming decades."
Harencak, assistant chief of staff, Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration, was speaking at the Strategic Nuclear Enterprise Symposium in Wash. DC.
NM Sen. Tom Udall presses for funding B61 upgrade, expanded plutonium facility "...I want to thank you for your continued advocacy for the B61 Life Extension Program, this program is important to our national security, and I believe the scientists and engineers at our national labs have made great progress in this endeavor..."
"Deliberately echoing the contradiction at the heart of President Obama's 'Prague Agenda', the 2010 Strategic Concept 'commits NATO to the goal of creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons- but reconfirms that, as long as there are nuclear weapons in the world, NATO will remain a nuclear Alliance'. Formerly justified in terms of 'transatlantic burden sharing' and 'Alliance cohesion', the removal of tactical nuclear weapons [B61 bombs] is now on NATO's agenda, with or without a fundamental shift to denuclearize NATO's Security Concept. According to research published in 2011, this is actively sought by 10 NATO member states and opposed by only 3 (France, Hungary and Lithuania). The UK is among 14 who say they would not block, while one NATO member registered as 'don't know'." (Acronym.org)
LANL's Central Mission Los Alamos Lab officials have recently claimed that LANL has moved away from primarily nuclear weapons to "national security", but what truly remains as the Labs central mission? Here's the answer from one of its own documents:
LANL's "Central Mission"- Presented at: RPI Nuclear Data 2011 Symposium for
Criticality Safety and Reactor Applications (PDF) 4/27/11
"Many citizens, scientists and laymen alike, view nuclear-weapons abolition as an essential milestone in the development of human civilization, a moral, ideological and practical campaign that could catalyze the transformation of international relations and improve the outlook for civilization at a critical time."
-James Doyle, LANL Non-Proliferation Policy Specialist, in "Why Eliminate Nuclear Weapons?" Doyle was fired from LANL in July of 2014, apparently for publishing this article.
"Instead of working to end the insanity of the nuclear age once and for all, these nine countries waste trillions of dollars on their nuclear arsenals, in violation of both the treaty and customary international law. We can no longer afford this perilous game of nuclear roulette."
"We Must End the Madness of Nuclear Weapons", May 20th, 2014 by Desmond Tutu and David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
Our Mission: Through comprehensive research, public education and effective citizen action, Nuclear Watch New Mexico seeks to promote safety and environmental protection at regional nuclear facilities, mission diversification away from nuclear weapons programs, greater accountability and cleanup in the nation-wide nuclear weapons complex, and consistent U.S. leadership toward a world free of nuclear weapons.