Letter urges Biden to make bold changes to the U.S. nuclear posture, address cost overruns at the Departments of Defense and Energy, and champion nuclear diplomacy with Iran and North Korea
Washington (March 3, 2021) – Following four years of the Trump administration’s “America First” foreign policy, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Congressman Ro Khanna (CA-17) today urged the Biden administration to restore U.S. global nuclear nonproliferation leadership. The lawmakers' letter asks that President Joseph Biden’s policies, diplomatic initiatives, and budget requests advance the dual missions of reducing the role and number of nuclear weapons and reestablishing U.S. leadership to reduce nuclear risks.
“As the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons in a conflict, the United States must play a leading role in ensuring that the most destructive weapon ever created is never used again,” write the lawmakers in their letter to President Biden. “In making necessary changes to the U.S. nuclear posture and force structure, your Administration can best reflect the hard, cold reality that there is no such thing as a winnable nuclear war.
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
Senator Markey and Congressman Khanna outline key actions for the Biden administration to take in its efforts related to the reduction of nuclear weapons:
  • Stop the development and deployment of President Trump’s two new types of nuclear weapons
  • Make it U.S. policy not to use nuclear weapons first in a conflict and invite other nuclear weapons powers to adopt a similar policy declaration
  • Review and scale back the current program of work to sustain and modernize the U.S. nuclear weapons enterprise
  • Pause further development of a new Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) known as the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD)
  • Pursue diplomatic steps, together with U.S. allies and partners, to rein in Iran’s nuclear program
  • Seek talks with North Korea, in close cooperation with U.S. allies and partners, to reduce its nuclear-weapons threat and to further the aim of peace on the peninsula

In 2017, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) raised affordability concerns about the Obama administration’s plan to spend approximately $1.7 trillion dollars over the next thirty years, when adjusted for inflation, on new nuclear weapons modernization. That was before President Trump’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review that programmed new, costly capabilities. The lawmakers argue that the Biden administration can field a safe, secure, effective and affordable nuclear deterrent while scaling back the current program of work on the U.S. nuclear weapons enterprise. Towards that end, the lawmakers urge the Biden administration to pause further development of a new $100 billion Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) known as the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD).