As the House and Senate gear up for votes in the coming days to fund the Defense Department, lawmakers are set to support a bow wave of costly nuclear weapons programs increasingly at odds with the needs of U.S. troops and the future threats that dominate their agenda.
Notably for a president who famously championed nuclear disarmament, the Obama administration’s plans to beef up the nation’s nuclear arsenal exceed even that of President Reagan’s. But the cost does not come without compromise. Lawmakers must consider the very real choice between additional nuclear weapons spending and conventional weapons needs. Because the Pentagon cannot plan for every contingency, it must plan for the most conceivable future. In this case, that might mean a step back from nuclear weapons toward greater focus on those weapons we might actually use.
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