In return for the ratification of New START, the Obama administration committed to an expensive program to revitalize the U.S. nuclear enterprise. Since then, however, pressure for austerity has grown, and the U.S. economy has limped forward under the threat—and then the reality—of sequestration. The Obama administration has promised to try to protect spending on nuclear weapons. But, should it? What would be the strategic consequences—to both deterrence and assurance—of cutting the nuclear budget? If cost savings from the nuclear enterprise are necessary, what should be cut? Should the United States make one or two major cuts, such as abandoning one leg of the triad, or instead spread the pain evenly? How much can it save by doing so?
Walter Pincus, Barry Blechman, Eric Edelman, Garrett Harencak, and David Mosher look at the different scenarios facing the United States. Share your comments and questions below.