Lawmaker deeply concerned about reports for new nuclear weapons, lower thresholds for use, increased chances of nuclear war


Washington (January 17, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement in response to media reports detailing the draft contents of the Trump administration’s forthcoming Nuclear Posture Review. The leaked document outlines the Trump administration’s plans to develop new low-yield so-called “tactical” nuclear weapons and reintroduce old, Cold War weapons systems. It also indicates that the administration will increase the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. warfighting, including to respond to conventional threats. The draft report, however, fails to explain how the government would pay for any of these new weapons in addition to the already-unsustainable costs of recapitalizing existing U.S. nuclear forces. Senator Markey and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced the SANE Act, legislation that would cut $100 billion from the wasteful nuclear weapons budget over the next decade.


“The reported contents of the Trump administration’s forthcoming Nuclear Posture Review are a roadmap for nuclear war,” said Senator Markey. “President Trump’s fixation on the size of his ‘nuclear button’ is reflected in a document that outlines an unnecessary expansion of America’s nuclear arsenal. Simply put, President Trump wants new nuclear weapons and more ways to use them. We don’t need new nuclear weapons, ‘low yield’ or otherwise, and we certainly should not be creating more ambiguity about the military scenarios in which we might use our nuclear weapons. Threatening to use nuclear weapons to respond to and deter conventional threats is unnecessary when we have the most powerful conventional military in the world. President Trump’s approach is destabilizing, makes the world less safe, and increases the risk of nuclear war. Despite decades of American leadership in the global effort to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons, the Trump administration appears to be abdicating U.S. leadership and instead unnecessarily instigating a 21st century nuclear arms race.”


In July 2017, Senators Markey and Feinstein, along with 20 of their senate colleagues, sent a letter urging the Trump Administration urging it to conduct a Nuclear Posture Review that included broad interagency input, reaffirmed America’s longstanding commitment to eventually eliminate nuclear weapons, adhere to longstanding, bipartisan principals regarding U.S. nuclear weapons policy, and produced a publicly-available document. In November 2017, Senators Feinstein and Markey sent another letter with 13 Senate colleagues urging the Trump administration to reject calls for new nuclear weapons and to reevaluate the affordability of the current nuclear modernizations effort in the next Nuclear Posture Review.