Nuclear Weapons Spending and the Future of the Arsenal

Capitol Hill Briefing
February 22, 2010 12:30PM
B-338 Rayburn House Office Building
Featuring Stephen I. Schwartz, Editor, Nonproliferation Review, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and principal author, Nuclear Security Spending: Assessing Costs, Examining Priorities; and Christopher Preble, Director of Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute, and author, The Power Problem: How American Military Dominance Makes Us Less Safe, Less Prosperous, and Less Free.
The U.S. nuclear arsenal is enormous and expensive. Few Americans understand just how costly it is, however, because the program is one of the least transparent features of the massive federal budget. The most comprehensive study of nuclear weapons spending concluded that U.S. taxpayers spent at least $52.8 billion in fiscal year 2008 but estimated the actual top-line budget, which includes classified and intelligence-related activities, to be much higher. Do such expenditures keep us safe? Can better congressional oversight succeed in bringing down the high costs? Does U.S. security depend on a nuclear arsenal that contains more than 5,000 warheads? In advance of the Obama administration’s release of the nuclear posture review, please join Christopher Preble and Stephen Schwartz for a discussion of the costs and risks associated with the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and hear their proposals for alternative approaches to advancing U.S. security.