The Nuclear Budget Campaign initiated by the Ploughshares Fund was prescient in recognizing the opportunity to cut defense budgets, leading to some impressive victories. Today, those smaller defense budgets look locked in, even though the specific decisions necessary to live within them have not been made either in the Pentagon or NNSA. Yet, counter intuitively, since the smaller defense budgets were achieved more precipitously than anyone expected, the defense budget is likely to start increasing in maybe only a few short years. This strange moment presents a unique opportunity for the Ploughshares Fund’s Nuclear Budget Campaign and the broader arms control community to have both an immediate impact, as well as lay the groundwork for even greater impact in the coming years.
We recommend seizing this moment by adopting both a near- and long-term approach to attacking nuclear weapons programs. The following recommended priorities outline how today’s fiscal environment can best be leveraged to fundamentally change the U.S.’ nuclear weapons programs, and therefore the world’s nuclear future.