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  • The Illusory Linkage Between Nuclear Modernization and New START

    Obama and Medvedev sign new START

    The U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations recently published a summary of the continuing resolution (CR) that would allow continued government operations through March 4, 2011. The vote on the resolution is expected today as the current CR is set to expire. Senators should not fall for the promise of the so-called “modernization” funds proposed in the CR in exchange for their vote on the flawed New START nuclear arms treaty between the U.S. and Russian Federation.

    Senators should understand that no matter how they may wish it were so, their vote will not get them any long-term funding for nuclear modernization. There is no deal. Moreover, Senators should also not be intimidated by the threat to withdraw this money if New START is not approved by the Senate.

    The CR adjusts the current rate of operations for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) weapons program to $7 billion, a $624 million increase over the fiscal year 2010 appropriation, in conjunction with New START. According to the draft language, the $624 million increase “shall be available only upon the Senate giving its advice and consent” to New START. This means that congressional appropriators do not support on its merits funding for nuclear modernization. It is also an explicit threat to pressure Republicans to vote for New START.

    By threatening to withhold funding unless the treaty is ratified, this is playing crass politics with U.S. national security. Conditioning funding for nuclear program on New START is playing politics with our national security. If funds are needed for the most vital and sensitive military capability in the military’s arsenal, they should never be held hostage to a political deal. To bargain with the nation’s security is the antithesis of the appropriate behavior of the body charged to “provide for the common defense.” If the dollars are needed, they should be provided without conditions—period.

    The treaty must stand on its own merits and be judged according to whether it is beneficial to U.S. security or not. The Administration has actually acknowledged this at one point: James Miller, the principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy, recently stated: “The Administration’s strong view is that the treaty makes sense on its own merits, and the Administration’s strong view is that additional funding for NNSA makes sense on its own merits. So no, we don’t support that linkage.”

    The U.S. nuclear infrastructure certainly needs a comprehensive overhaul and is in need of urgent attention. The White House has proposed $85 billion in spending over the next decade, but this money is modest compared to the need. The funds proposed are anything but a commitment to modernize the nuclear arsenal. The Administration’s plan is overwhelmingly weighted in favor of sustainment or maintenance over modernization. Current White House policies bar steps that would lead to the development and procurement of “new nuclear warheads” or “capabilities” to meet new missions in the 21st century. There would be no modernization of warheads or delivery systems. To call this “modernization” is like saying that taking your car to Jiffy-Lube is “modernizing” the transportation network.

    Furthermore, much of the proposed spending is in the out years beyond Obama’s term as President. The White House cannot make iron-clad guarantees on funding nuclear programs. Congress must still pass annual budgets.

    Expecting funding for nuclear modernization in exchange for the passage of New START is simply misplaced. Senators can pretend that there is a deal, but the White House cannot make a long-term deal. By conditioning funding on passage of New START, congressional appropriators have made it clear that they don’t favor nuclear modernization on its merits. If they don’t cut funding this year, they will cut it next year.

    On its face, voting for passage of this treaty based on the fantasy that there is a deal or that this offers a satisfactory solution to reverse the decline of the U.S. nuclear infrastructure is reprehensible and shortsighted. The treaty is seriously flawed, and U.S. national security interests demand that these flaws be adequately addressed before any final vote on the Senate floor.

    In addition, the vote should not be scheduled during a short lame duck session. In a recent Heritage Foundation report, Matt Spalding, Ph.D., notes that never in the history of the United States has a lame duck Senate given its advice and consent and voted on a major treaty. The ratification of New START by a lame duck Senate would not only ignore the message sent by voters in November but also break a significant precedent, consistent with the principle of consent, maintained by Presidents and Congresses since the passage of the Twentieth Amendment in 1933.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to The Illusory Linkage Between Nuclear Modernization and New START

    1. G-Man, Virginia says:

      First DADT, now New START. This Administration and Senate will stop at nothing to weaken United States national defenses.

      DADT is flawed because 1) the decision doesn’t strengthen the Country’s national defenses, 2) the Armed Forces will suffer from yet more social experimentation, 3) it creates a special class of individual within the Armed Forces, and 4) it works against formulation of a cohesive fighting force capable of protecting our freedom and liberty. Time will prove these reasons TRUE. I don’t glorify my sin, but it saddens me that the persistent minority want protected status, and legal justification for theirs.

      Secondly, it is clear from history and the recent Rianovosti articles that the Russians clearly see us as their adversaries and they are acting upon that understanding. The New START places maniacal, self-imposed limits on America's ability to advance its missile defense programs, and fails to deter proliferation. Only the naive would think that we should attempt to change the Russian world-view by weakening our nuclear arsenals or missile defense programs by ratifying New START.

      Further, based on facts from our Founding and our history America is more trusted to possess nuclear weapons than the former Soviets. Because of the Christian values that America was founded upon a case can be made that America places a high/er value on human life than the majority of Russians. It is possible to cite examples where America has gone astray [E.g. Roe v. Wade], but in the case of Roe v. Wade the sanctity of life was denigrated by an un-elected, activist Court – NOT – by the majority of Americans!

      The Russians understand one thing and one thing only: STRENGTH. Only when the United States is strong can it influence the world for liberty and freedom.

      U. S. Senate, you vote to ratify New START at your own political peril. Freedom loving Americans won’t stand for the weakening of their Country. We can't wait until 2012 to hold YOU accountable, and to help complete the restoration of our Country!

    2. Ryan Colpaart, Austi says:

      The media debate is in full swing about the President’s huge lame duck session, and what it will mean for his poll numbers. Now as we sit on the precipice of the START treaty ratification, I felt it was important to glance back in the history of this President and see why exactly we are here today. A kind of struggle through the white noise if you will:

      http://www.doubledutchpolitics.com/2010/12/for-ob

    3. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Illusory Linkage Between Nuclear Modernization and New START | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News. -- Topsy.com

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    5. Robert, Edmonton Alb says:

      We're not going to get any modernization. It has to be appropriated and approved every year. I can hear the cries from the Democrats now, "Millions unemployed and the Republicans want NEW nuclear weapons how disgraceful."

      The left has already planned the "Road to Zero [nukes]" and it is through the "let in all die on the vine", strategy.

    6. Pingback: 33 Minutes

    7. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      In order to secure crucial votes for his precious healthcare bill, Obama promised Stupak et al in an executive order that no Obamacare funds would be used for abortion. The EO has no force of law, so it will fund abortions. Now, Obama promises to find nuc mod to secure a few GOP votes. Will all of these people wave these promises in the air and cry foul when Obama breaks his promises once again and their constituents scream? It will be too late for them and maybe for our country too.

    8. Asad Badruddin says:

      Dear Mr. Spring,

      My colleague and I are both students at Tufts University and will be doing research on missile defense. We would be very interested in meeting and interviewing you for the purposes of our research if you will be around in DC from the 10th to the 18th. Any help in this matter will be appreciated.

      Best,

      Asad

    9. jiffy lube says:

      Woah this blog is fantastic i love reading your articles. Keep up the good work! You know, a lot of people are looking round for this information, you can aid them greatly.

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