Today, the Pentagon announced a $13.3 billion contract award (part of a larger $100 billion program) to Northrop Grumman to build the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) missile, a replacement for existing nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) – a sole-source contract that highlights how the US nuclear modernization effort is driven more by political inertia than strategic necessity.
“Our nation faces major security challenges, including a global pandemic that has killed almost 200,000 Americans, and we shouldn’t spend our limited resources on new nuclear weapons that we don’t need and make us less safe,” said former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry.
“The highest probability of starting a nuclear war is a mistaken launch caused by a false alarm and a rushed decision to launch nuclear-armed ICBMs,” Perry said. “Instead of spending billions of dollars on new nuclear missiles we don’t need, we must focus on preventing accidental nuclear war.”
“The Trump administration plans to spend well over one trillion dollars modernizing the nuclear arsenal over the next thirty years,” said Tom Collina, Director of Policy at Ploughshares Fund. “Yet nuclear weapons won’t help us address the top threats to our society, such as the pandemic, climate change, and racial inequality.”
“Cancelling the new ICBM will make us safer and save US taxpayers billions of dollars that would be better spent on pandemic response and other urgent needs,” Collina said. “It’s time to put masks before missiles.”
Ploughshares Fund is a global security foundation based in San Francisco, with an office in Washington, DC. Founded in 1981, Ploughshares Fund supports initiatives to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons. It is the largest US philanthropic organization focused exclusively on nuclear weapons.
Photo: An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test on Aug. 4, 2020 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Its three reentry vehicles traveled 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Senior Airman Hanah Abercrombie / US Air Force