Senator Markey NDAA Amendment Would Block Development of New “Low-Yield” Nuclear Weapon


Markey amendment would redirect funds to help denuclearize North Korea




Washington (June 12, 2018) – With the U.S. Senate beginning debate of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today filed an amendment to redirect funds that the Trump administration would use to develop a new, so-called “low yield” nuclear weapon towards nonproliferation activities that would help denuclearize North Korea. The United States already has hundreds of low-yield nuclear weapons, including the B61 gravity bomb and an air-launched cruise missile. The federal government is slated to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to upgrade these systems, as well as to develop a new stealth bomber and fighter aircraft to deliver them, as part of the existing nuclear modernization program. The low yield nuclear weapon appeared in the Nuclear Posture Review – the comprehensive review of U.S. nuclear weapons policies – despite the fact that there are no documents, reports, or studies justifying the previously unrecognized need for a new low yield weapon as part of America’s nuclear deterrent, and it is dangerously indistinguishable from U.S. strategic nuclear weapons.


“When the Trump administration talks about a so-called low yield nuclear weapon, it refers to nuclear weapons comparable to the nuclear bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in the Second World War,” said Senator Markey. “There is no such thing as a low yield nuclear weapon. It makes no sense to spend more money to develop a low yield nuclear weapon dangerously indistinguishable from a strategic one, especially when our military doesn’t need it. My amendment would help reduce the nuclear dangers the world faces today and in the future by redirecting funds that the Trump administration would use to develop this wasteful and unnecessary nuclear weapon towards preparing for nonproliferation activities that will be essential to helping denuclearize North Korea.”


A copy of Senator Markey’s amendment can be found HERE. It is co-sponsored by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.).


Last month, Senator Markey sent a letter to the leadership of the Senate Armed Services Committee urging it to scrutinize the cost of developing a low yield warhead for the submarine-launched ballistic missile as it develops its fiscal year 2019 budget.