Arms Control & Non-Proliferation

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Germany’s Baerbock pushes for nuclear disarmament

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called for a “new momentum” to nuclear disarmament as she met with her Swedish counterpart with an eye toward a review of a non-proliferation treaty.

aljazeera.com

Germany and Sweden have paired up to find ways to get the world’s nuclear powers to move toward committing to disarmament. The foreign ministers met in Stockholm to plot the way forward ahead of next month’s review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Baerbock has been in talks with her Swedish counterpart Ann Linde and met with the Stockholm Initiative, a group of 16 countries seeking to get rid of nuclear weapons.

“Our joint goal is clear: a world free of atomic weapons,” Baerbock said during a press conference with Linde.

“Our message to the review conference will be clear: Nuclear weapons countries have to push ahead with nuclear disarmament,” read a statement from the initiative, calling for an irreversible, transparent end to nuclear weapons subject to oversight.

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Iran nuclear talks resume with upbeat comments despite skepticism

Russia’s envoy to the talks, Mikhail Ulyanov, said on Twitter they “started quite successfully.” Asked he if was optimistic, Iran’s top negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, told reporters: “Yes, I am.”

 

EU and Iranian negotiators struck an optimistic tone on the first day of resumed nuclear talks Monday. (Reuters)

Vienna, Austria EU, Iranian and Russian diplomats sounded upbeat as Iran and world powers held their first talks in five months on Monday to try to save their 2015 nuclear deal, despite Tehran taking a tough stance in public that Western powers said would not work.

Diplomats say time is running out to resurrect the pact, which then-US President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018 in a move which infuriated Iran and dismayed the other powers involved — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.
European Union, Iranian and Russian delegates to the talks offered optimistic assessments after the new round began with a session of the remaining parties to the deal, without the United States — whom Iran refuses to meet face-to-face.
“I feel extremely positive about what I have seen today,” Enrique Mora, the EU official chairing the talks, said after the meeting — the seventh round of talks aimed at reviving a deal under which Iran limited its disputed uranium enrichment program in return for relief from US, EU and UN economic sanctions.
Mora told reporters the new Iranian delegation had stuck to its demand that all sanctions be lifted. But he also suggested Tehran had not rejected outright the results of the previous six rounds of talks held between April and June.
“They have accepted that the work done over the first six rounds is a good basis to build our work ahead,” he said. “We will be of course incorporating the new political sensibilities of the new Iranian administration.”

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Resources

The Treaty Prohibiting Nuclear Weapons: How it was Achieved and Why it Matters
By Alexander Kmentt / Copyright Year 2021
“…An authoritative record of the negotiations and diplomacy behind the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty which aims to prohibit the deadliest weapons invented by humankind. Ambassador Alexander Kmentt was at the forefront of the efforts, started over ten years go, to raise awareness of the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences of these weapons. He provides an insightful account of how a small group of countries, supported by civil society, overcame the opposition by major nuclear weapon states…”



Disarmament Treaties

Disarmament and Related Treaties
Published 4 December 2014 by The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, this publication contains the text of multilateral treaties that focus on nuclear weapons, and nuclear-weapon-free zones and other disarmament treaties.
PDF version available online here

The Nuclear Ban Treaty

Overview

The U.N. Treaty
on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

On 7 July 2017 – following a decade of advocacy by ICAN and its partners – an overwhelming majority of the world’s nations adopted a landmark global agreement to ban nuclear weapons, known officially as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It will enter into legal force once 50 nations have signed and ratified it.

Prior to the treaty’s adoption, nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction not subject to a comprehensive ban, despite their catastrophic, widespread and persistent humanitarian and environmental consequences. The new agreement fills a significant gap in international law.

It prohibits nations from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory. It also prohibits them from assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in any of these activities.

The Nuclear Ban Treaty in a nutshell

Why a ban?

A nation that possesses nuclear weapons may join the treaty, so long as it agrees to destroy them in accordance with a legally binding, time-bound plan. Similarly, a nation that hosts another nation’s nuclear weapons on its territory may join, so long as it agrees to remove them by a specified deadline.Nations are obliged to provide assistance to all victims of the use and testing of nuclear weapons and to take measures for the remediation of contaminated environments. The preamble acknowledges the harm suffered as a result of nuclear weapons, including the disproportionate impact on women and girls, and on indigenous peoples around the world.

The treaty was negotiated at the United Nations headquarters in New York in March, June and July 2017, with the participation of more than 135 nations, as well as members of civil society. It opened for signature on 20 September 2017. It is permanent in nature and will be legally binding on those nations that join it.

Nuclear weapons are the most inhumane and indiscriminate weapons ever created. That is why it is time to end them, before they end us.

Nuclear weapons are the most inhumane and indiscriminate weapons ever created. They have catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences that span decades and cross generations; they breed fear and mistrust among nations, as some governments can threaten to wipe out entire cities in a heartbeat; the high cost of their production, maintenance and modernisation diverts public funds from health care, education, disaster relief and other vital services. Banning these immoral, inhumane weapons under international law was a critical step along the path to ending them.

With the adoption of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) on July 7th, 2017, the world's majority took a critical step towards making that nuclear-weapon-free future a reality.

Read more about how the TPNW works >

Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty News & Updates

International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons at Ghedi Base in Italy

View photos below of the initiative near the Italian base of Ghedi, which hosts US nuclear warheads, on the occasion of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

About 100 people gathered outside the gates of the military base despite a heavy rain and despite anti-Covid regulations that prevented a demonstration with the usual characteristics.
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Nuclear-Weapon-Free States Demand Immediate End to Deterrence Policies, Start of Dismantling Atomic Arsenals, as First Committee Continues General Debate

Calling for swift remedies to mend a fractured non-proliferation landscape, nuclear-weapon-free States demanded an immediate end to deterrence policies and the start of dismantling atomic arsenals, as the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) moved into the third day of its general debate.

UNITED NATIONS MEETINGS COVERAGE GENERAL ASSEMBLY FIRST COMMITTEE SEVENTY-SIXTH SESSION, 4TH MEETING (PM)

As thousands of atomic bombs located around the world pose grave risks to humanity, delegates implored nuclear-weapon States to steer the planet onto a path of peace.  Some suggested such ways to do so, with delegates agreeing that dismantling nuclear arsenals must start now, in line with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and under safeguards established by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  Many urged all nations with atomic arsenals to sign, ratify and fully implement existing conventions, including the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which entered into force in January, and some decried the quarter of a century delay in entering into force the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.  To rectify this, many called for nuclear-weapon States to sign and ratify it so that atomic bomb testing can become part of the past.

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International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons 2021

International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons 2021

Today, Sunday, September 26, 2021, marks the United Nations International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. The United Nations has been working toward achieving global nuclear disarmament since the organization’s inception; it was the subject of the General Assembly’s first resolution in 1946, with a mandate to make specific proposals for the elimination of atomic weapons and all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction. The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons has been observed annually since 2014, serving as a tool to enhance public awareness and education about the threat posed to humanity by nuclear weapons and the necessity for their total elimination. In 2013, the year the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons was introduced, the President of the General Assembly noted that a “renewed international focus on the catastrophic consequences of nuclear weapons has led to a reinvigoration of international nuclear disarmament efforts.”

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ILHAN OMAR SIGNS ICAN PLEDGE

April 30, 2021: Representative Ilhan Omar today submitted her signed ICAN Pledge to ICAN, becoming the eleventh member of the US Congress to sign the Pledge. Rep. Omar represents Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District in the US House of Representatives. Rep Omar also co-sponsor the H.R.2850 Nuclear Abolition and Economic Conversion Act of 2021 that Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton reintroduced on April 26, 2021.

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Nuclear Weapons — They’re Illegal

“Remember that when your congressional members pitch expanding nuclear weapons production as jobs programs; you can respond that they are illegal. Tell them they should show visionary leadership and moral courage by helping to create cleanup and green energy jobs instead.”

By:  / Santa Fe New Mexican

Jan. 22 will go down in history as the day when the tide turned against nuclear weapons. That was the day when the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons went into effect, signed by 122 countries.

It specifically prohibits nations from developing, testing, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons and assisting others in doing so. It reinforces existing international law obligating all states not to test, use or threaten to use nuclear weapons.

What immediate impact will it have here, given that the Los Alamos National Laboratory is the birthplace of nuclear weapons and now sole producer of plutonium pit triggers for the expanding U.S. stockpile? The brutally honest answer is no impact, not immediately.

But think about it. Nuclear weapons are now internationally illegal, just as horrendous chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction have long been. But nuclear weapons are the worst WMDs, potentially killing millions more while causing radioactive fallout and famine-inducing nuclear winter. Ask your New Mexican congressional members to explain why nuclear weapons shouldn’t be internationally banned just like chemical and biological WMDs, all of which cause agonizing, indiscriminate suffering and death.

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ICAN IGTV

The international campaign to abolish nuclear weapons on instagram (@nuclearban) tackling some of the more technical legal questions of the treaty: what does entry into force mean, what happens now? Joined with experts, they dive into international law and the TPNW (without getting too technical!) through instagram chats to help break it all down.

Quotes

James Doyle

“Many citizens, scientists and laymen alike, view nuclear-weapons abolition as an essential milestone in the development of human civilization, a moral, ideological and practical campaign that could catalyze the transformation of international relations and improve the outlook for civilization at a critical time.”

 

All Nuclear Arms Reduction and Non-Proliferation Updates & Recent News

Iran nuclear talks resume with upbeat comments despite skepticism

Russia’s envoy to the talks, Mikhail Ulyanov, said on Twitter they “started quite successfully.” Asked he if was optimistic, Iran’s top negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, told reporters: “Yes, I am.”

 

EU and Iranian negotiators struck an optimistic tone on the first day of resumed nuclear talks Monday. (Reuters)

Vienna, Austria EU, Iranian and Russian diplomats sounded upbeat as Iran and world powers held their first talks in five months on Monday to try to save their 2015 nuclear deal, despite Tehran taking a tough stance in public that Western powers said would not work.

Diplomats say time is running out to resurrect the pact, which then-US President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018 in a move which infuriated Iran and dismayed the other powers involved — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.
European Union, Iranian and Russian delegates to the talks offered optimistic assessments after the new round began with a session of the remaining parties to the deal, without the United States — whom Iran refuses to meet face-to-face.
“I feel extremely positive about what I have seen today,” Enrique Mora, the EU official chairing the talks, said after the meeting — the seventh round of talks aimed at reviving a deal under which Iran limited its disputed uranium enrichment program in return for relief from US, EU and UN economic sanctions.
Mora told reporters the new Iranian delegation had stuck to its demand that all sanctions be lifted. But he also suggested Tehran had not rejected outright the results of the previous six rounds of talks held between April and June.
“They have accepted that the work done over the first six rounds is a good basis to build our work ahead,” he said. “We will be of course incorporating the new political sensibilities of the new Iranian administration.”

Continue reading

What to expect as Iran nuclear talks resume next week

“New round of talks unlikely to produce breakthrough but will shed light on posture of new Iranian government, analysts say.

aljazeera.com

The first round of nuclear talks since conservative Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi took office will start on November 29 [File: Majid Asgaripour/WANA via Reuters]
Washington, DC – Indirect negotiations between Iran and the United States to revive the nuclear deal are set to restart next week after a lengthy pause that put prospects of restoring the landmark accord in doubt.While a breakthrough is not expected, analysts have said that the talks set to begin in Vienna on November 29 will shed light on how Tehran will approach diplomacy under conservative President Ebrahim Raisi, whose government has upped Iranian demands before a return to the deal.

“We’re going to find out how different these [Iranian] hardliners are from previous hardliners; we’re going to find out if they’re going to be a little softer,” said Negar Mortazavi, an Iranian-American journalist and analyst.

“And we’re also going to find out if the Americans have really realised that they missed an opportunity, and that they should change their position to some extent.”

Proponents of the deal, including Mortazavi, have criticised US President Joe Biden for not moving with urgency to restore the agreement in the first months of his administration, when a more moderate Iranian government headed by former President Hassan Rouhani was in charge.

Six rounds of talks in Vienna between April and June failed to forge a path back into the agreement.

“That golden window of opportunity was short, and the Biden team completely missed it,” Mortazavi told Al Jazeera.

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To Avoid Armageddon, Don’t Modernize Missiles—Eliminate Them

Land-based nuclear weapons are world-ending accident waiting to happen, and completely superfluous to a reliable deterrent.

“Getting trapped in an argument about the cheapest way to keep ICBMs operational in their silos is ultimately no-win. The history of nuclear weapons in this country tells us that people will spare no expense if they believe that spending the money will really make them and their loved ones safer—we must show them that ICBMs actually do the opposite.

By Daniel Ellsberg and Norman Solomon thenation.com October 22, 2021

A Titan nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile in a silo. (Michael Dunning / Getty Images)

The single best option for reducing the risk of nuclear war is hidden in plain sight. News outlets don’t mention it. Pundits ignore it. Even progressive and peace-oriented members of Congress tiptoe around it. And yet, for many years, experts have been calling for this act of sanity that could save humanity: Shutting down all of the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Four hundred ICBMs dot the rural landscapes of Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wyoming. Loaded in silos, these missiles are uniquely—and dangerously—on hair-trigger alert. Unlike the nuclear weapons on submarines or bombers, the land-based missiles are vulnerable to attack and could present the commander in chief with a sudden use-them-or-lose-them choice. “If our sensors indicate that enemy missiles are en route to the United States, the president would have to consider launching ICBMs before the enemy missiles could destroy them. Once they are launched, they cannot be recalled,” former Defense Secretary William Perry warns. “The president would have less than 30 minutes to make that terrible decision.”

The danger that a false alarm on either side—of the sort that has occurred repeatedly on both sides—would lead to a preemptive attack derives almost entirely from the existence on both sides of land-based missile forces, each vulnerable to attack by the other; each, therefore, is kept on a high state of alert, ready to launch within minutes of warning. The easiest and fastest way for the US to reduce that risk—and, indeed, the overall danger of nuclear war—is to dismantle entirely its Minuteman III missile force. Gen.

James E. Cartwright, a former vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who had been commander of the Strategic Command, teamed up with former Minuteman launch officer Bruce G. Blair to write in a 2016 op-ed piece: “By scrapping the vulnerable land-based missile force, any need for launching on warning disappears.”
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Nuclear talks with US to resume ‘soon,’ Iranian foreign minister says

The US left the JCPOA in 2018, citing continued malign behavior by Iran in the region, and implementing a “maximum pressure” sanctions regime, but Biden seeks a return to the policy.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian on Wednesday said Iran would return to talks to reach a nuclear agreement “soon,” but made no commitment to a specific date for resuming the stalled negotiations to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with the world’s leading powers.
Following a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Amirabdollahian said that “the process of reviewing Vienna talks is nearing completion and the talks will resume soon.
“Until Iran returns to the negotiating table, the other parties must also make new decisions and show their will and intention for the success of the talks and fulfilling their commitments,” he added.
Earlier, Amirabdollahian told the head of Iranian foundations in Moscow that a return to the nuclear deal could bolster Iran’s economy, “if we achieve tangible achievements in securing the rights of the Iranian people,” Iranian Mehr News Agency reported.

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Biden administration reveals number of nuclear weapons in US stockpile

“The Biden administration’s decision to declassify updated information on the number of nuclear warheads in the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal is a welcome step that reverses an unwise decision by the Trump administration to classify this information,” the Arms Control Association said in a statement Wednesday.

“It also puts pressure on other nuclear armed states that maintain excessive secrecy about their arsenals.”

By Chandelis Duster and Nicole Gaouette, CNNbenningtonbanner.com October 7, 2021

Biden administration reveals number of nuclear weapons in US stockpile
A stockpile of munitions stored in a secured facility at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Feb. 6, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Nothstine)

(CNN) In a reversal from the Trump administration, the State Department revealed the number of nuclear weapons in the US stockpile for the first time in four years on Tuesday.

The US has 3,750 nuclear warheads in its stockpile and 2,000 are waiting to be dismantled, according to a release from the State Department, which emphasized the importance of transparency.
The release of the “Transparency in the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Stockpile” fact sheet comes as the Biden administration is conducting a review of its nuclear weapons policy and capabilities ahead of a 2022 meeting of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference, where the US and other nuclear powers who are party to the Treaty will review each signatory’s disarmament commitments.
“Increasing the transparency of states’ nuclear stockpiles is important to nonproliferation and disarmament efforts, including commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and efforts to address all types of nuclear weapons, including deployed and non-deployed, and strategic and non-strategic,” the State Department said.

Nuclear-Weapon-Free States Demand Immediate End to Deterrence Policies, Start of Dismantling Atomic Arsenals, as First Committee Continues General Debate

Calling for swift remedies to mend a fractured non-proliferation landscape, nuclear-weapon-free States demanded an immediate end to deterrence policies and the start of dismantling atomic arsenals, as the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) moved into the third day of its general debate.

UNITED NATIONS MEETINGS COVERAGE GENERAL ASSEMBLY FIRST COMMITTEE SEVENTY-SIXTH SESSION, 4TH MEETING (PM)

As thousands of atomic bombs located around the world pose grave risks to humanity, delegates implored nuclear-weapon States to steer the planet onto a path of peace.  Some suggested such ways to do so, with delegates agreeing that dismantling nuclear arsenals must start now, in line with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and under safeguards established by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  Many urged all nations with atomic arsenals to sign, ratify and fully implement existing conventions, including the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which entered into force in January, and some decried the quarter of a century delay in entering into force the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.  To rectify this, many called for nuclear-weapon States to sign and ratify it so that atomic bomb testing can become part of the past.

Continue reading

International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons 2021

International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons 2021

Today, Sunday, September 26, 2021, marks the United Nations International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. The United Nations has been working toward achieving global nuclear disarmament since the organization’s inception; it was the subject of the General Assembly’s first resolution in 1946, with a mandate to make specific proposals for the elimination of atomic weapons and all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction. The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons has been observed annually since 2014, serving as a tool to enhance public awareness and education about the threat posed to humanity by nuclear weapons and the necessity for their total elimination. In 2013, the year the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons was introduced, the President of the General Assembly noted that a “renewed international focus on the catastrophic consequences of nuclear weapons has led to a reinvigoration of international nuclear disarmament efforts.”

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U.S. still prepared to engage with North Korea after missile test

“North Korea’s cruise missiles usually generate less interest than ballistic missiles because they are not explicitly banned under United Nations Security Council resolutions. However, analysts said calling it “strategic” could mean it was a nuclear-capable system.”

Reuters reuters.com September 13, 2021

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE, Sept 13 (Reuters) – The United States remains prepared to engage with North Korea, a White House spokeswoman said on Monday, despite Pyongyang’s announcement that it had tested a new long-range cruise missile over the weekend.

“Our position has not changed when it comes to North Korea, we remain prepared to engage,” principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

North Korea’s state media announced on Monday what it said were successful tests of a new long-range cruise missile that analysts said could be the country’s first such weapon with a nuclear capability. read more

U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said initial indications were that North Korea had carried out such a test.

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Why China’s attack on Nato ‘double standards’ suggests it will continue to build up nuclear arsenal

“The alliance’s head Jens Stoltenberg accused Beijing of increasing its firepower ‘without constraint’ and urged it to sign up to international arms controls – But Beijing hit back by criticising Nato’s nuclear sharing arrangements and said the US and Russia should lead the way by disarming”

scmp.com September 12, 2021

China is expected to continue building up its arsenal of nuclear weapons despite Nato’s appeal for it to sign up to international arms controls. Last week Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg criticised China’s efforts to develop its nuclear capacity – by building more warheads, delivery systems and silos – “without any limitation or constraint”.

He told Nato’s annual arms control conference in Brussels that this was making the world “more unpredictable, more competitive and more dangerous”.

Lawmakers set for battle over next-gen nuclear missile

“For the W87-1, whose plutonium cores, or pits, are to be produced in part by the Savannah River Plutonium Processing Facility in South Carolina, at stake are jobs and billions of federal dollars to upgrade buildings or construct new factories. It’s all intertwined with shaky plans launched by the Trump administration to have Savannah River and Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico produce a combined 80 pits per year by 2030.”

defensenews.com September 9, 2021

Lawmakers set for battle over next-gen nuclear missile
Senior Airman Ryan Page inspects the front of a booster in preparation for a missile roll transfer on April 20, 2021, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Missile handlers follow a step-by-step checklist to ensure the Minuteman III ICBM is able to roll between two vehicles for routine maintenance before it returns to the field. (Airman Elijah Van Zandt/U.S. Air Force)

WASHINGTON ― Nuclear modernization opponents and defenders are gearing up to fight again over the next-generation intercontinental ballistic missile and other efforts.

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., and a skeptic of nuclear spending on the House Armed Services Committee, confirmed he plans to offer nuclear-themed amendments when the annual defense bill receives House floor consideration later this month. One aims to pause the Air Force’s nascent Ground Based Strategic Deterrent in favor of maintaining the missile it would replace, the Minuteman III; another would zero out funds for the GBSD’s warhead, the W87-1.

“The bottom line is that we could pause the entire GBSD program and push forward into the future a $100 billion expense,” Garamendi, who chairs the House Armed Services readiness subcommittee, told Defense News.

With the Biden administration’s Nuclear Posture Review due early next year, Garamendi said the amendments are part of his “strategy to raise the issues, to gather the data, test the arguments against the opposition … and create an occasional success.”

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