Turner Corrects the Record on the Cost of Our Nuclear Deterrent
Letter to Supercommittee Debunks Claims of Those Seeking Unilateral Disarmament Under the Guise of Budget Efficiencies
Nov 4, 2011 -
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Mike Turner penned a letter to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction setting the record straight on the true cost of maintaining our nuclear deterrent. On October 11th, 65 Members of Congress sent a letter to Committee members alleging that our nation spends “over $50 billion a year on the U.S. nuclear arsenal,” and calling on “the Super Committee to cut $20 billion a year, or $200 billion over the next ten years, from the U.S. nuclear weapons budget.”
“This $50 billion per year figure is incorrect—and, when coupled with the cuts proposed by the October 11 letter, deeply harmful to a fully informed and accurate debate,” stated Turner in his letter. “The correct figure is approximately $21.4 billion per year. Therefore, the requested cuts of $20 billion per year would effectively amount to unilateral and immediate nuclear disarmament by the United States. These proposed cuts would therefore have, I’m sure you’ll agree, catastrophic impacts to our national security and global stability,” he added.
On November 2nd, Congressman Turner, in his capacity as Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, conducted a hearing with a witness panel consisting of the key administration officials responsible for U.S. nuclear weapons. Turner asked the witnesses about the accuracy of the information on nuclear weapons spending published by groups advocating elimination of nuclear weapons. In response, Dr. James Miller, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy said: “I've had an opportunity to look at some of the materials that were referenced in those cost estimates just before coming over here and I- without giving this more time than it deserves - suffice it to say there was double counting and some rather curious arithmetic involved.”
The testimony of these officials made the facts clear - “Planned spending to sustain, operate, and modernize our nuclear forces and their supporting infrastructure is far less than the levels claimed in the letter you received on October 11,” wrote Turner.