Fall Quarterly 2017
While the rest of the world pursues the abolition of nuclear weapons, the highly militarized Trump White House is pursuing the Obama administration’s plans for a 30-year, $1 trillion rebuild of the US nuclear weapons complex. The massive rehab proposal is to eventually produce 80 new nuclear warheads a year.
On Aug. 8, the Department of Energy and US Air Force conducted two tests of the future B61-12 gravity bomb at Tonopah Test Range in Nevada. The unarmed test bomb drop—from an F-15E Strike Eagle, which the Air Force uses in US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya—demonstrated the jet’s ability to wage nuclear war. The $12 billion B61-12 program “is progressing on schedule,” said Phil Calbos of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The test involved new tailfin hardware designed by Boeing. NNSA wants the first usable B61-12 bomb to be finished in 2022 and intends to ship 180 of them to five “nuclear sharing” NATO partner states in Europe, replacing the ones already there.
On Aug. 21, the Air Force granted $349 million in contracts to Boeing, and $329 to Northrop Grumman and put the two giant weapons contractors into competition to replace the Minuteman III nuclear missile arsenal. One of the two contractors is expected to win the $100 billion contract to build over 400 brand new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
WallStreet.com online reported about the new Air Force ICBM contracts, and their part in the overall build-up, that“ A review by the Arms Control Association, a nonpartisan, nuclear weapons watchdog, [found] the total 30-year cost of the program could rise to $1.5 trillion”—$500 billion beyond what the Obama Administration first proposed in 2016.