Smith Statement on the Nuclear Posture Review

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement about the Nuclear Posture Review:

“I am deeply concerned that President Trump’s draft Nuclear Posture Review calls for an expansion of America’s currently unaffordable $1.2 trillion plan to upgrade our nuclear weapons enterprise with even more new nuclear weapon systems and additional unneeded capacity. It is clear to anyone observing the budget process that the current price tag of at least $1.2 trillion is completely unrealistic, and that adding to it would further draw resources away from capabilities and training that we need to most effectively counter our near-peer adversaries. How President Trump plans to pay for these programs remains a mystery.

“The United States has an extremely robust, highly credible nuclear deterrent that is capable of responding to any attack and defending our allies with decisive force. We are currently in the process of upgrading that deterrent in an effort that will cost some $40 billion per year. That is far more than Russia’s and China’s nuclear weapons spending, and it would be irresponsible and misleading for the administration to act as if those countries are upgrading their nuclear arsenals while the United States is doing nothing. The administration’s recommendations will not increase our security—they will instead feed a nuclear arms race, undermine strategic stability by lowering the threshold for nuclear use, and increase the risk of miscalculation that could precipitate a nuclear war.

“The way to deter and respond to Russian aggression, provocations, and treaty violations is to push back hard in effective ways that strengthen global security. As we raise the costs of Russian aggression, we must also pursue meaningful, parallel steps to reduce the risk of accidental nuclear war. This Nuclear Posture Review weakens our ability to strike such a balance by funneling ever more money into nuclear warfighting options, at the expense of our conventional capabilities; of our ability to manage the essential fiscal component of our national defense; and of strategic stability.

“A nuclear posture that implements the President’s view that his nuclear button is ‘bigger and more powerful’ is short-sighted and ill-advised. This review is a missed opportunity to introduce realism into our nuclear weapons planning, enhance our security, and reassure our allies.”