Senate Democrats Take On Nuclear Cruise Missile, Denounce ’Limited’ Nuclear War
Mar. 10, 2017 (EIRNS)—Nine Democratic senators, led by Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, introduced legislation yesterday, to slow down development of the Long Range Stand-Off (LRSO) cruise missile, one element of the nuclear modernization program begun under the Obama Administration. The legislation would freeze funding for the weapon at the 2017 level of $95.6 million a year and the life extension program for the W80-4 warhead to go into it at $220.2 million a year. Such levels likely mean a long-term delay for the development of the weapon, which is in its early stages of design and development, reports Defense News. "If the United States wants other countries to reduce their nuclear arsenals and restrain their nuclear war plans, we must take the lead," Markey said in a statement.
The bill’s prospects are low, however, because of the broad, bipartisan support in the Congress for the nuclear modernization program.Midweek, Gen. Paul Selva, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, argued, during a House Armed Services Committee hearing, that in order to get rid of cruise missiles, the U.S. had to build the LRSO first, in order to be able to use it as a bargaining chip.
Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a well known critic of the LRSO who is a co-sponsor of Markey’s bill, excoriated the Defense Science Board, meanwhile, for producing a report in December which urges the president to consider altering existing and planned U.S. armaments to achieve a greater number of lower-yield weapons that could provide a "tailored nuclear option for limited use." The report calls for resuming nuclear testing.
Feinstein calls on the Secretary of Defense to reject the recommendations in the report. Instead, she proposes that the U.S. should join with Russia to lead the way to a global ban on nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.
Feinstein states this in an Oped in the Washington Post March 3, warning,
She said, "This is even more problematic given President Trump’s comments in support of a nuclear arms race." She warned that "Designing new low-yield nuclear weapons for limited strikes dangerously lowers the threshold for their use," and that
She debunked more testing. "Resuming nuclear testing would only encourage others to follow suit," she wrote. "The world is made far less safe if other nations begin testing and continue to pursue new nuclear weapons and capabilities."