Senator Kyl: show me the money to modernize U.S. nukes

April 20, 2010

Where’s the money?

A key senator says the Obama administration needs to commit to more funding for modernizing the U.S. nuclear weapons complex if it is to convince him that the new START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia is a good idea. USA-COURT/SOTOMAYOR

Republican Senator Jon Kyl said that in any case it’s debatable whether the new START treaty signed recently by President Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev “is in the best interests of the United States.”

The new START treaty, which cuts the arsenals of deployed nuclear warheads in both countries by about 30 percent, must be approved by the Senate as well as the Russian parliament before it can go into force.

Obama will need some Republican support if he is to win the 67 votes needed for Senate consent. Kyl’s opinion matters because he is the Senate’s number two Republican, and he is considered something of an expert on nuclear weapons.

Administration officials already have proposed over $600 million in additional funding for maintaining the U.S. nuclear complex next year, as well as boosting funding for the complex by some $5 billion dollars over the next five years.
But in a speech to the National Defense University Foundation Tuesday, Kyl indicated he wants to see a modernization commitment lasting twice that long and involving a lot more money.

NUCLEAR-SUMMIT/“Most experts believe it’s going to require a little over one billion a year for at least ten years, so you are in the order of 12, 13, maybe 15 billion over the course of 10 or 12 years,” Kyl said.

He also wondered whether the Democrat-dominated Congress would approve even the money that had been proposed for next year. “Before we get too happy about just saying we’re going to ratify START, let’s get the commitment,” Kyl said.

He wants to see the funding commitments in the 10-year plan for modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal that the administration is expected to present to the Senate next month.

“This modernization plan has to be a lot more than words and big commitments,” Kyl said. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s got to be an absolute commitment to adequate funding for everything that has to be done …”

One member of Kyl’s audience thought differently. Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, said that the money the administration had proposed already was a significant increase.

“Senator Kyl doth protest too much,” Kimball said.

Photo credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts (Kyl at Senate hearing July 2009), Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Obama and Medvedev at Nuclear Security Summit)

6 comments

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Please read John Bolton’s rationale for not cutting our arsenal too deeply. Nuclear targeting policy should be maintained or increased, not curtailed. The verification protocols must be positive, nothing less is acceptable. With all the proliferation of HEU, plutonium and other highly radioactive substances occurring globally, we must ensure we can handle any eventuality.

Posted by captainjim | Report as abusive

John Bolton is a militarist (who has never served in the miitary) who embraces the “peace through strength” philosophy of international affairs. Bolton is an outspoken hawk on U.S. policy in the Middle East, and is closely associated with radical neoconservative organizations and pressure groups that are allied with the right-wing Likud party in Israel–including the Project for the New American Century, American Enterprise Institute, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, and the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf–all of whom are advocating military strikes on Iran.
A Yale-trained lawyer, Bolton rejects the legitimacy of international law–at least when international law conflicts what he regards as U.S. national interests. Bolton also has a record of questionable legal and ethical dealings at home. He is literally the last person on earth anyone should listen to when it comes to steering civilization away from war and toward peace and international cooperation.

Posted by GetpIaning | Report as abusive

Thanks for reminding everyone that Bolton understands the world is not a safe place and understands our enemies are not our friends.

Obama and Clinton never served in the military either. They are even less credible on issues of safety for the American people.

We need more John Bolton’s and to say otherwise, is just another political hack job which attempts to demonize a person who truly loves America and wants to keep Americans safe…yes, even you (why? I don’t know…).

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive

Looks like TC is all riled up again and stalking his internet prey.

John Bolton is one of the major reasons why few other countries trust the motives, or the rationality of the U.S. administration.

He is one of the people whose statements scare off the diplomatic ducks that the Obama administration so carefully tries to line up. The continual gaffes of chickenhawks like Bolton make the U.S. position seem even more hypocritical in the global arena.

Just as an example, the excuse for attacking Iraq was its defiance of UN resolutions. You yourself have argued this point on this blog. But John Bolton has defied the UN’s very existence for most of his political career. He has made it plain that the U.S. government should not abide by any UN decisions that may prove inconvenient to the U.S. pursuit of its national interests. Not its national security interests, all of its interests. Political, economic, and strategic. So much for credibility.

Go ahead and call me a political hack job while you accuse me of making personal attacks, I don’t care. Bolton is the last person on earth we should be listening to when it comes to making the world a safer place to live.

Posted by GetpIaning | Report as abusive

No one is riled up. Just stating an opinion, just like you.

You say tomado and I say tomato. Bolton is exactly the person we need to help defend and keep us safe.

I won’t get in to your constant “everything about conservatives is evil”. It is well known you and your staff write stuff to consistently make a faulty case based on your world view. Hey all the power to you. I am sure the progressives out there like what you have to say.

There is a difference between personal attack and truth. You are a political hack because you continually attack one side while ignoring the sins of the other side.

And lastly, Bolton is exactly the person we should be listening to to keep America and Americans safe from any attack.

Obama is certainly not more credible than Bolton. Obama has made the US and its citizens less safe as a result of his nuclear policy. The world’s enemies are laughing at the America right now. But it isn’t funny.

Well, you would have to actually live in the US to understand,

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive

Not surprising that TyC thinks John Bolton should be deciding America’s foreign policy. Both of them have a screw loose somewhere. The rest of the world is breathing a sigh of relief now that “thinkers” are back in charge of America’s foreign policy.
How did Bolt-loose’s last big idea turn out? Charlie Foxtrot, that’s a Roger.

Posted by Yellow105 | Report as abusive