Trident I from a US Navy submarine, 1984

CAP and CATO Institute agree on one thing...

A trillion dollar modernization of US nuclear forces is a bad idea

According to a brand new report from the Center for American Progress (a report we're proud to have recently sponsored):

"Over the next 30 years, the cost of the nuclear deterrent could pass $1 trillion and crowd out defense and domestic investments needed to keep the United States strong and competitive. In addition, it could undermine US credibility on the issue of nuclear proliferation—especially when it comes to dealing with regimes such as Russia, China, and North Korea."

A 2013 CATO Institute policy report sponsored by Ploughshares came to a similarly emphatic conclusion: "In fact, nuclear weapons are essentially irrelevant in actual US wars, which are against insurgents and weak states without nuclear arsenals," arguing for a shift that "would facilitate major reductions in the nuclear arsenal, the elimination of at least one leg of the triad, and substantial savings."

The Department of Defense plans to modernize all three legs (strategic bombers, ICBMs, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles) of the nuclear arsenal at once, while modernizing conventional forces as well. According to a report by the Center for Strategic & International Studies (another report we're proud to have recently sponsored):

"Many weapons programs will be at or near their peak years of funding requirements at roughly the same time in the 2020s, creating a modernization bow wave. Just as a large bow wave slows a ship by diverting its energy, carrying a large modernization bow wave is a drag on defense because it leads to program instability and inefficient procurement practices that weaken the buying power of defense dollars."

Ploughshares Fund believes that inefficiently spending a trillion dollars over 30 years on weapons that are outdated, overpriced and unnecessary is a bad idea.  We also believe that strategic insights and bipartisan policy solutions from the best organizations and smartest minds striving to make the world safer and more secure by reducing the enormous threat that nuclear weapons pose to humanity — is a great idea, perhaps even an idea that could change the world.