In her September 17, 2020 testimony before before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, restated the ongoing company line that more money must be spent on the US nuclear weapons stockpile, or the whole enterprise might fall over.
She stated, “The need to now modernize our nuclear weapons stockpile and recapitalize the supporting infrastructure needed to produce and maintain that stockpile has reached a tipping point.”
First off, the stockpile basically receives all the funding it requests. This year’s $19.8 billion NNSA request is a $3.1 billion increase over last year’s request. If the nuclear stockpile is tipping over, it’s due to its own mismanagement from a top-heavy management structure. Don’t forget that U.S. nukes are a very profitable business and 90% of NNSA work is done by private, for-profit contractors. The contractors don’t have to share how much profit they make because they are, well, private contractors.
Second, Gordon-Hagerty continues to scare up what spooks might do as a reason to modernize the nuclear stockpile. She states, “China and Russia are advancing their nuclear capabilities, which challenge our advantages directly. The United States must be responsive to the increasing desire for state and non-state actors to reshape the world in their favor, doing so at the expense of our Nation, allies, and partners, and at times in contravention of international norms and rules.” It’s unclear what ‘state and non-state actors’ she is referring to, but the U.S. has been instrumental in tearing up nuclear treaties in the last couple of years.
Finally, she claims, “The Department’s top priority is to support the President’s agenda and direction for defending the Nation.” But $19.8 billion would be better spent on disaster relief, health care, roads and bridges, and education. Let the weapons complex topple!