U.S. to Spend $1 Trillion on Nuclear Triad

January 8, 2014 | Edited by Lauren Mladenka and Geoff Wilson

Trillion Dollar Triad - “Over the next thirty years, the United States plans to spend approximately $1 trillion maintaining the current [nuclear] arsenal, buying replacement systems, and upgrading existing nuclear bombs and warheads,” says a new report published by the Center for Nonproliferation Studies. “If current projections hold, the United States will spend 3 percent of its defense budget on procuring new strategic systems” during the late 2020s, which is comparable to the spending for the procurement of new strategic systems in the 1980’s under President Ronald Reagan.

--”The new procurement schedule still entails significant programmatic risks and will likely result in even higher costs, lower capability, and slower deployments,” of these new nuclear forces. “This situation undermines the credibility of the US nuclear deterrent, and could, in a worst-case scenario, result in the loss of one or both of the Air Force legs of the triad,” says the report.

--“US policy makers are only now beginning to appreciate the full scope of these procurement costs.” The report concludes that, “a national discussion is needed about the future of the nuclear triad and deterrent, one that should include both the strategic and financial implications of these decisions.” Read the full report by Jon Wolfsthal, Jeffrey Lewis, and Marc Quint here. http://bit.ly/1dg09rU

Rouhani on what Iran wants - “By virtue of the popular mandate that I received, I am committed to moderation and common sense, which is now guiding all of my government’s policies,” writes Hassan Rouhani in a new op-ed for Project Syndicate. “That commitment led directly to the interim international agreement reached in November in Geneva on Iran’s nuclear program. It will continue to guide our decision-making in 2014.”

--”The peaceful nuclear capability that we have achieved will be used within an internationally recognized framework of safeguards, and it will be accessible to multilateral monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency, as has been the case in the past several years. In this way, the international community can ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of our nuclear program. We will never forgo our right to benefit from nuclear energy; but we are ready to work toward removing any ambiguity and answer any reasonable question about our program,” writes Rouhani.

-- Regarding the recent moves by some members of the U.S. Senate to impose new sanctions, Rouhani said that, “the continuation of pressure, arm-twisting, intimidation, and measures aimed at cutting off Iranians’ access to a whole range of necessities – from technology to medicines and foodstuffs – can only poison the atmosphere and undermine the conditions needed to make progress.” He concluded that, “as we showed in 2013, Iran is fully prepared to engage seriously with the international community and to negotiate with our interlocutors in good faith. We hope that our counterparts, too, are ready to take advantage of this window of opportunity.” Read the full piece here. http://bit.ly/K4s01h

Sanctions on backburner - “The only way a sanctions bill from Iran hawks will be considered while diplomatic talks continue is by skipping his committee of jurisdiction and taking it straight to the Senate floor,” reports Burgess Everett for Politico. While Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) “has a sanctions bill ready to go in case ongoing nuclear talks with Iran falter, he is keeping it on the backburner,” warning of “the ramifications if the House or the Senate decides to pass its own sanctions bill, even if that legislation includes a negotiating window.” Read the full article here. http://politi.co/1cOZg3o

Tweet - @lrozen: "Interesting. Seems U/S Sherman will be holding bilateral talks with #Iran in Geneva" @almonitor http://bit.ly/1bRCw2x

Talks resume - Talks between the United States and South Korea on a nuclear trade agreement were slated to resume Tuesday, reports Global Security Newswire. Last year, the two sides agreed to a two year renewal “of their current decades-old atomic cooperation accord” after failing to reconcile “key differences in negotiating new terms for a future agreement,” specifically “over whether the South should be allowed to use nuclear technologies that have military applications, among other factors.”

--The U.S. is concerned that South Korea’s desire to reprocess spent reactor fuel “would breach nonproliferation norms, given that the same processes could produce plutonium usable in warheads.” Full article here. http://bit.ly/1a8vyGI

Quick hits:

--“North Korea: Expect the Unexpected” by Robert Manning for The National Interest. http://bit.ly/1dVna1I

--“China’s North Korea Opportunity” by Harry Kazianis for The Diplomat. http://bit.ly/1gDUkmQ


--Joseph Cirincione, Ploughshares Fund, and Eric Schlosser book discussion of Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late. Jan. 8th from 6:00-7:30 at The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. Register here. http://bit.ly/1km1MYR

--”Inside Iran.” Discussion with David Ignatius and Robin Wright at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Jan. 9th from 9:30-11:00. RSVP here. http://bit.ly/1f8fMmN

--”Making Sense of Nuclear Negotiations with Iran: A Good Deal or a Bad Deal?” Discussion with Alireza Nader, Daryl Kimball and Paul Pillar. Jan. 22nd from 10:00-11:00am at 2168 Rayburn House Office Building. RSVP here. http://bit.ly/19Th8zR


Birthday jingle - “Dennis Rodman sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un before leading a squad of former NBA stars for a friendly game Wednesday as part of his ‘basketball diplomacy,’” reports Eric Talmadge. “Rodman dedicated the game to his ‘best friend’ Kim, who along with his wife and other senior officials and their wives watched from a special seating area.” Full story in AP. http://abcn.ws/1gDXRlm