The first public examination of open-source data shows that the U.S. spent at least $52.4 billion on nuclear weapons and programs in 2008; yet despite growing concern about the prospect of a nuclear 9/11 only 10 percent of that went toward proliferation prevention. The U.S. must devote less funding to upgrading its arsenal and more to securing and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.
The United States spent over $52 billion on nuclear weapons and related programs in fiscal year 2008, but only 10 percent of that went toward preventing a nuclear attack through slowing and reversing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology.
Stephen I. Schwartz and Deepti Choubey have determined for the first time that the United States spent over $52 billion on nuclear weapons and related programs in fiscal year 2008, figures that even the government does not compile because there is no official nuclear security budget.
"Global Zero" has become a well-known slogan to revive the decades-old idea of eliminating all nuclear weapons. Interest in abolition has been renewed by the concern that the use of nuclear weapons could become ever more likely. With nuclear deterrence we bought time, but it would be a tremendous mistake to believe that deterrence will always work.
In the wake of the Russia-Georgia conflict commentators often ask whether the U.S. and Russia can cooperate. The urgency of nuclear threats around the world, including Iran's ambitions, requires both countries to “wall off” their nuclear discussion from other issues that might hinder progress on finding solutions to common security challenges.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates cautioned that the U.S. cannot maintain a credible nuclear deterrent without testing or modernizing its aging stockpile. Gates urged the next U.S. president to engage Russia in new arsenal reduction talks and pointed to the loss of top talent in U.S. weapons laboratories as a major source of concern.
Efforts to re-invigorate a movement to abolish nuclear weapons are rising on the international agenda. The next U.S. president should emphasize the goal of abolishing nuclear weapons in an effort to: prevent proliferation, prevent nuclear terrorism, reduce the threat of nuclear annihilation, and foster new optimism for U.S. global leadership.
Iran's recent missile tests have heightened speculation that the U.S. or Israeli will mount a military operation against it. Carnegie's Karim Sadjadpour appeared on PBS' Foreign Exchange to argue that the likelihood of such an attack is slim.
Behind the scenes at the G-8 summit, U.S. and Indian officials appear to be moving forward on an agreement that would lift the U.S. ban on nuclear trade with India and allow it to assist India’s civilian nuclear program. Ashley Tellis discusses the details of the deal on NPR’s Morning Edition and notes that it is unlikely to make India a closer U.S. ally.
In briefings following North Korea's announcement to hand over details of its nuclear program, Carnegie experts noted that while it is the first of several hurdles to be overcome before North Korea may fully reintegrate into the international community, it represents the greatest understanding of the North's plutonium program in fourteen years.