United States slotted to spend $1.5 - $2 trillion on
upgrading its nuclear arsenal over the next thirty years
Washington (May 24, 2021) – Senator Edward J.
Markey (D-Mass.) and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) today reintroduced the
Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act,
which would cancel or
reduce nuclear weapons programs over the next decade and generate at least $73
billion in cost savings. This legislation would restore budget sanity and
advance U.S. national security by cutting redundant and destabilizing nuclear
programs, and factoring in affordability analysis into programs, a course of
action recommended by the Government
. Upgrading and maintaining nuclear warheads and their
associated infrastructure through FY2046 is anticipated
to cost $1.7 trillion, adjusted for inflation
tradeoffs in other areas of the U.S. discretionary budget.
“President Biden can create a future safe from
nuclear weapons, not for
them, by stopping production of
unnecessary nuclear weapons acquisition programs,” said Senator Markey. “The
United States can deter our adversaries and reassure our allies without
making an insane investment in nuclear weapons overkill, including capabilities
that may invite rather than prevent a nuclear
exchange. While President Trump’s actions tilted the ‘Doomsday
Clock’ towards midnight, President Biden has a chance to build back a
better nuclear weapons policy that does more with less. We must bring the same
energy in arresting the climate crisis to reducing another existential threat –
that posed by nuclear weapons – and that begins with smart cuts to our nuclear arsenal.”
“These disastrous weapons will never be the
answer to solving our complex and ever-changing national security threats,” said
Rep. Blumenauer. “We should not be investing trillions of dollars of our
budget on an outdated and irresponsible nuclear arsenal. There are far more
important programs and initiatives that will actually help and protect the
American people. This legislation will put us on the path towards a safer,
A copy of the SANE Act
The legislation is co-sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders
(I-Vt.) and Representatives Jared Huffman (CA-02), Jim McGovern (MA-02),
Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Peter DeFazio (OR-04), and Jan Schakowsky (IL-09).
CBO estimates that the current plans for nuclear
modernization would cost $494 billion through
the proposed cuts to
these plans could reduce those estimates by at least $73 billion over the same
number of years.
The Smarter Approach to Nuclear
Expenditures (SANE) Act will prohibit the fielding of so-called “low-yield”
warheads, prohibit space-based missile defense, remove the nuclear mission from
the F-35 and reduce the purchase of Columbia-class submarines from 12 to eight,
cut the existing ICBM fleet from over 400 to 150, and reduce deployed strategic
warheads from approximately 1,500 to 1,000 - saving at least $13.6 billion.
Additionally, the bill would:
- Cancel the development of a new air-launched cruise
missile and an associated warhead life extension program - saving $13.3
- Cancel the development of new ICBMs and a new nuclear
warhead – saving at least $13.6 billion.
- Cancel the development of a new submarine-launched
cruise missile - saving $9 billion.
- Limit the plutonium pit production target to 30 per
year - saving $9 billion.
- Prohibit funding for a nuclear processing facility -
saving $2.6 billion.
- Retire the B83-1 megaton bomb as previously planned -
saving $4.4 billion.
- Prohibit development of
the new W-93 warhead – saving $7.5 billion (half of the estimated
total acquisition cost according to
The legislation is endorsed by Beyond the Bomb, Massachusetts Peace Action, the
Ploughshares Fund, Peace Action, Friends Committee on National Legislation, and
the Arms Control Association.
“The COVID-19 Pandemic, student loan debt
crisis, and countless other issues illustrate the ways in which our budget
prioritizes military might over human need. Trimming, delaying or cancelling
nuclear weapons programs puts us on a path towards a more equitable and,
critically, more secure country. I am proud to support the SANE Act and
grateful for Senator Markey's leadership in making sanity a key criteria for
good policy,” said Cecili Thomas Williams, Executive Director, Beyond
“The United States nuclear arsenal is a danger
to the entire human race and to our own citizens. We should cut our
deployed missiles and submarines and reverse the dangerous expansion of our
nuclear forces that are now underway. We urgently need funds to recover
from COVID, rebuild our public health system, assist our people economically
and fight climate change -- not new nuclear weapons,” said Cole Harrison,
Executive Director, Massachusetts Peace Action.
“When it comes to nuclear weapons, sometimes
less is more. By cancelling particularly destabilizing weapons, like the new
ICBM, and limiting the numbers of other weapons to what we need for deterrence,
the nation can save hundreds of billions of dollars that can be better spent on
higher priorities. We have already been through one nuclear arms race, and once
was enough. Thanks to Sen. Markey for his leadership on this crucial
issue,” said Tom Collina, Policy Director, Ploughshares Fund.
"Senator Markey continues his long-time
leadership on keeping the world safe from possible annihilation by nuclear
weapons by reintroducing the SANE Act,” added Paul Kawika Martin,
Senior Director, Policy and Political Affairs for Peace Action.
"This legislation (named after our predecessor organization, SANE/Freeze)
would bring sanity to ridiculous spending on nuclear weapons and allow the U.S.
to invest in other needs like solving the climate crisis and racial
equity. America must heed the call of the 86 countries who signed the
Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and obligations under the
Non-Proliferation Treaty to move towards eliminating these destabilizing
weapons rather than wasting hundreds of billions on money pit missiles.”
“Nuclear weapons endanger human
civilization. The SANE Act introduces much needed rationality into the
policies and expenditures that govern the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The
Friends Committee on National Legislation believes that nuclear weapons should
be abolished, and this legislation would take an important first step toward
that goal,” said Diana Ohlbaum, Legislative Director for Foreign Policy,
Friends Committee on National Legislation.
“The United States maintains a larger and more
diverse nuclear arsenal than is required to deter and respond to a nuclear
attack against itself or its allies. The planned spending to maintain and
replace the arsenal, which could approach $2 trillion over the next 30 years,
will pose a significant affordability problem, and threaten other national
security priorities,” said Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, the Arms
Control Association. “The SANE Act illustrates the many options that could
be pursued to save taxpayer dollars by trimming, delaying or cancelling new
weapons programs, while still maintaining a formidable nuclear force capable of
deterring any nuclear adversary. We urge Congress to pursue a more cost
effective and commonsense strategy.”