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—Wilson Brissett

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, criticized President Donald Trump’s proposed spending on nuclear modernization programs in a statement released Wednesday.

Smith said the President’s Budget “fails to provide us with a realistic plan for modernizing the US nuclear weapons arsenal” and risks “fueling a dangerous nuclear arms race.”

Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget proposal increases Department of Energy spending on nuclear modernization by 11 percent and produces a 46 percent increase since 2013, according to the statement. Smith singles out $850 million in proposed spending on the Long-Range Standoff weapon, Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, and B61 Tail Kit Assembly programs.

“Many of these requests should have been delayed until the administration completes a Nuclear Posture Review to determine how many and what kind of nuclear weapons we need,” Smith said. He also noted the US currently has enough nuclear weapons “to destroy the world several times over” and that US lawmakers need to “prioritize what we need to keep the country secure and free up funding for more essential defense programs.”
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff USAF Gen. Paul Selva told Congress in March that modernizing all three legs of the nuclear triad was the No. 1 priority for the Joint Chiefs.