The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Global Zero Responds To Ballooning Costs of Rebuilding US Nuclear Arsenal

New CBO Price Tag for Nuclear Weapons $1.2 Trillion


Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released new numbers showing that the United States is on track to spend more than $1.2 trillion over the next three decades to maintain and upgrade its massive nuclear arsenal. These new projections by the CBO are more than 24% higher than initial estimates put forward in 2013.

In reaction to the report, Derek Johnson, executive director of Global Zero, the international movement to eliminate nuclear weapons, issued the following statement:

"This eye-popping estimate comes at a time when the risk of nuclear weapons use is at an all-time high. We're already grappling with multiple nuclear crises around the world. Investing lavishly in a whole new generation of nuclear weapons -- which is certain to spur a global nuclear arms race -- will send those risks soaring ever higher.

"This $1.2 trillion price tag balloons to $1.7 trillion when adjusted for inflation. That's money we don't have for an arsenal we don't need.

"Don't be fooled: This plan has serious negative repercussions for U.S. national security. Rebuilding America's vast nuclear weaponry won't solve the North Korea problem or any other crisis we face. What it will do is siphon precious resources from conventional capabilities and critical government functions that can actually meet 21st century security threats.

"As the CBO report makes clear, Trump's plan to rebuild the nuclear arsenal to the tune of $1.7 trillion is optional. There are several ways to fulfill critical maintenance needs without recapitalizing thousands of nuclear weapons across all three legs of the triad. Specifically, the CBO references the May 2012 report of the Global Zero Commission on U.S. Nuclear Policy, which demonstrated that any and all deterrence requirements can be met with a greatly reduced arsenal of 900 weapons. That could save hundreds of billions of dollars and dramatically reduce the prospects of nuclear war by eliminating anachronistic liabilities from the arsenal -- including hundreds of high-risk land-based nuclear missiles scattered like sitting ducks throughout the Midwest.

"This alternative force posture was developed by a high-level, nonpartisan group of former military commanders, political leaders and national security experts, led by former commander of all nuclear forces General (ret.) James E. Cartwright. It also earned the backing of President Obama and the Joint Chiefs of Staff in June 2013, ahead of Obama's 'Berlin proposal' for a one-third reduction in strategic forces.

"Right now the United States should be doing everything in its power to lower the risks of nuclear conflict and reduce the number of nuclear weapons on the planet. The alternative is literally unaffordable. Congress needs to hit the brakes on Trump's nuclear spending spree and seriously explore more realistic options before the U.S. bankrupts itself in a new nuclear arms race."

Global Zero is the international movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons. It is led by more than 300 eminent world leaders and backed by a half a million citizens worldwide. For more information, please