Ben Loehrke's Blog Posts

Ben serves as Ploughshares Fund's Senior Policy Analyst. With a background in nuclear and international security policy, his areas of expertise include U.S.-Russia relations, nonstrategic nuclear weapons and U.S. policy towards Iran.
  On the radar: Engage, not withdraw; Full compliance report; Russia in denial; LANL’s retribution firing; Obama’s budgets defying Obama’s goals; Air Force wishes deterrence could be cheaper; and Theodore Van Kirk, 1921-2014.   Read more »
Posted on July 31, 2014
Bailout was a naval term before it was a financial term. Bailing out a ship means, essentially, to save a sinking ship by taking a bucket and heaving water overboard. Since the financial collapse, the term has also meant giving taxpayer money to insolvent businesses. So the bailout metaphor is particularly fitting when the Navy appeals to Congress for a taxpayer cash when the cost of new nuclear submarines threatens to sink the Navy’s shipbuilding budget. Read more »
Posted by Ben Loehrke on October 1, 2013
The U.S. is poised to spend $11.6 billion to upgrade a handful of nuclear bombs - with each bomb costing more than twice its weight in gold. The bombs were originally put in Europe to roll back a Soviet land invasion. With the Cold War over, the costly bomb upgrades would rack up more debt while adding no benefit to our security.  Why are the bombs still around? What else could the U.S. buy with the money? How much gold are we talking about? See the infographic below. Read more »
Posted by Ben Loehrke on July 9, 2013
In a victory for common sense, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill that scales back a $10 billion nuclear bomb program. The bombs - estimated to cost more than their weight in gold - now face strong opposition as it moves toward full Senate consideration later this year. Read more »
Posted by Ben Loehrke on June 28, 2013
Two years ago, when talk of “fiscal responsibility” began to dominate the political discussion, Ploughshares Fund realized that we had an unprecedented opportunity to tilt Washington’s budget axe toward the nuclear weapons complex. So we organized and funded a campaign to reduce spending on nuclear weapons. Read more »
Posted by Ben Loehrke on June 27, 2013
Many in Congress fumed last year when a green energy company – Solyndra – defaulted on a $535 million government loan, resulting from some bad management decisions and the market falling out from under the company. What happens when the government spends $5 billion on a poorly managed plutonium program that has no market? Read more »
Posted by Ben Loehrke on January 23, 2013
  On the radar: High accuracy, low yield, huge budget; Shoddy science; Decisions for the 2nd term; “Armageddon on a Budget”; Nukes and the NDAA; Japan’s plutonium buildup; Israeli BMD; and Mousavian on a grand bargain.   Read more »
Posted on November 29, 2012
Whether or not the nation zooms over the fiscal cliff, the Pentagon’s budget is going to get tighter. This may be a challenge for some. But it’s also an opportunity for the Pentagon to shift away from Cold War weapons and reshape the U.S. military to deal with 21st century realities. It comes down to a simple question: Should the U.S. put its money toward a Cold War nuclear strategy? Or should those funds be spent to equip the military to address 21st century realities? Read more »
Posted by Ben Loehrke on November 14, 2012
  On the radar: Banking and trade targeted; Positioning on enrichment; After Nunn-Lugar; U Thant, unsung hero of the crisis; U.S.-Israel security cooperation; MOX transparency needed; Missileer during the crisis; and Christoph Waltz as Mikhail Gorbachev.   Read more »
Posted on October 15, 2012
  On the radar: Assessing the nuclear budget; Updated Iran timeline; Replacing the Ohio; Degraded confidence for UPF; Big trouble for big laser; Lingering myth from the Cuban Missile Crisis; BMD cooperation with Russia; and South, that’s right, South Korea increasing missile ranges.   Read more »
Posted on October 9, 2012