Congressman Mike Turner has written to President Barack Obama calling on him to follow through on the promises that he made to the Senate during the ratification of the New START Treaty in 2010. Without the modernization program and the President’s promises to fund and implement it, concerns in the Senate about the treaty would have prevented it from being modified.
“For the first time, the U.S. has signed a treaty that required it to undertake unilateral reductions…there is a growing concern, including by your former Secretary of Defense, about the safety, security, reliability, and credibility of the U.S. nuclear deterrent…,” writes Turner.
The President in December of 2012 had stated about the modernization plan “[t]hat is my commitment to the Congress-that my Administration will pursue these programs and capabilities for as long as I am President.”
The fiscal year 2013 budget request was significantly below what Obama promised in November 2010 and as much as $4 billion below what is projected for just the next five years in the section 1251 plan. Now, the OMB appears to be further cutting back on the promises made to secure ratification of New START. In a May 18, 2012 memo from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) entitled, “MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES,” the Acting Director of the OMB stated, “overall agency request for 2014 should be five percent below…the 2013 budget.”
“Mr. President, the American people deserve better, and the Congress deserves constructive alternatives when you and your Administration disagree with its proposals. I ask you to start by fully funding your promises to modernize the U.S. nuclear deterrent and to stick to the schedule you promised for fielding a modernized nuclear triad and plutonium production facilities. Finally, I urge you to provide your own alternative for how to fix the broken management and governance system of the nation’s nuclear weapons enterprise…,” noted Turner.
NOTE: The letter to President Obama can be found here.