New Report: Obama Must Cancel the New Nuclear Cruise Missile

April 20, 2016

Washington, DC – A new Ploughshares Fund report calls on President Obama to strengthen U.S. national security by canceling the new nuclear air-launched cruise missile – and promoting a global ban on all nuclear cruise missiles. The new cruise missile is part of the Obama administration’s plan to spend $1 trillion on nuclear weapons.

On Sunday, the New York Times ran a front-page story warning that new nuclear weapons, such as the nuclear cruise missile, “threaten to revive a Cold War-era arms race.”

In a foreword to the new report, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Cal.) writes that she “strongly oppose[s] the creation of a new nuclear cruise missile, the so-called Long Range Standoff Weapon, or LRSO.”

Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), said “This new report makes clear that the United States does not need a new nuclear air-launched cruise missile. This new weapon would not make Americans safer and would undermine our security by raising the risk of unintended nuclear escalation.”

The report comes as several members of Congress speak out on the dangers of the expanding nuclear budget. A briefing convened today by Congressmen Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) highlights the costs of nuclear weapons and their questionable utility in addressing 21st century security threats.

The Obama administration plans to spend about $30 billion on the new nuclear air-launched cruise missile. This report argues that the new nuclear missile is strategically unnecessary, extraordinarily expensive, and undermines U.S. security.

“The administration’s plan to spend $1 trillion on nuclear weapons is irresponsible and dangerous,” said Ploughshares Fund Policy Director Tom Collina. “Building nuclear weapons we don’t need—like the nuclear cruise missile—is a misuse of taxpayer dollars. It puts our national security at risk by sparking a new arms race among the nuclear powers and increasing the threat of nuclear terrorism worldwide.”

“This report highlights the disconnect between geopolitical reality and the Air Force’s drive to build new nuclear weapons,” said report author and Roger L. Hale Fellow Will Saetren. “It also makes practical recommendations for U.S. nuclear policy. President Obama can improve U.S. national security if he acts now to cancel the new missile and promote a global ban on nuclear cruise missiles.”

The full report, made possible by the Roger L. Hale fellowship, is available online here: