Speaking today at the release of the Strategic Defense Review, President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta outlined a new strategic approach to the nation's defense that will move the country beyond the wars of the past decade while reducing America's nuclear weapons forces. In October 2011, Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) was joined by 64 House members calling for cuts of $200 billion from the nuclear weapons budget over the next decade.
Rep. Markey, top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee and founder of the Bipartisan Nonproliferation Taskforce, released the following statement.
"While details on specific budget cuts will be forthcoming, today the Pentagon asserted what I have been consistently saying -- America can maintain an effective nuclear deterrent with a smaller nuclear force. I am pleased President Obama and Secretary Panetta have committed to eliminate outdated Cold War era systems. The Pentagon should focus its resources on the security threats of the 21st century, not the weapons programs of the past century.
"America's nuclear weapons policy is the epitome of overkill, and nuclear weapons and related programs must be on the chopping block like all other defense programs.
"That is why I plan to introduce legislation that would address the wasteful spending on nuclear weapons and related programs within the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy.
"There is a growing consensus that we have far too many nuclear weapons and delivery systems. Despite U.S. agreement to reduce its nuclear arsenal under the New START treaty, current budget funding levels are slated to pour hundreds of billions of dollars over the next ten years into these radioactive relics. This makes no sense. The Pentagon has an opportunity to cut the defense budget without undercutting our national security through the elimination of nuclear programs rife with wasteful spending."