Washington, DC - U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (R-AL) and U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, released the following statement after receiving a letter from the Nuclear Weapons Council (NWC) outlining their concerns with President Biden’s budget request for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).
“The letter we received yesterday from the Nuclear Weapons Council highlights what we’ve been saying for months: National security spending that does not keep up with inflation is insufficient to safeguard this nation. We agree with the NWC that the Biden budget request ‘injects risk’ in the cornerstone of our national security, and we further agree with the NWC’s ‘unanimous and grave concern that accepting increased programmatic risk within NNSA’s nuclear weapons activities will further increase operational risk.’ For the first time in our nation’s history, we face the prospect of having to deter two near-peer nuclear competitors in Russia and China — both of which are massively expanding their nuclear arsenals. It’s irresponsible that this White House doesn’t seem to realize that, and put forward a budget that puts our nation in such a dangerous position, while at the same time considering policy changes that will make the U.S. and its allies less safe and give our adversaries even more freedom to intimidate their neighbors. We will work to give DOD and NNSA the funding needed to reduce this risk, and strongly encourage the Administration to work with Congress to maintain a strong and effective U.S. nuclear deterrent,” Ranking Members Rogers and Inhofe said.
The Nuclear Weapons Council (NWC) is a group of senior Department of Defense and Department of Energy (DOE) / National Nuclear Security Administration officials who jointly oversee the two agencies’ efforts to sustain and modernize the nation’s nuclear deterrent. Each year, the NWC is required by law to review the annual NNSA budget request and certify to Congress whether the budget is sufficient for supporting the U.S. nuclear deterrent.
In the letter, the NWC stated, “NWC members also believe that this budget injects risk into the longer term schedule required to ensure modernization of the U.S. nuclear deterrent. NWC members express unanimous and grave concern that accepting increased programmatic risk within DOE/NNSA’s nuclear weapons activities will further increase operational risk at a time when both Departments are executing the nuclear modernization program of record.”
The letter goes on to say, “NWC members agree that there is no area in need of more immediate attention than our Manhattan Project-era nuclear security enterprise facilities supporting our Cold War-era nuclear stockpile…The Nation cannot afford to lose the momentum that our two Departments have gained to ensure a credible nuclear deterrent into the 2030s and beyond.”