Long Way to Go

After reviewing President Obama’s Fiscal 2014 budget request, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces panel, thinks the nation still has a long way to go to uphold its nuclear force structure. Speaking on Capitol Hill on April 24, Rogers expressed concern that “nuclear modernization is in grave danger” due to the slow pace in modernizing the nation’s nuclear infrastructure. He cited delays to the B-61 life-extension program and W-78 and W-88 thermonuclear warhead life extensions as examples. Rogers said he thinks the nuclear review that the Obama Administration is expected to complete in the next few months is likely to recommend significant further reductions to US nuclear forces. “I find this deeply concerning given the sorry state of nuclear modernizations commitments” thus far, he said. What Rogers finds even more troubling are reports that the Administration may seek to avoid Congress and undertake those reductions outside of the formal treaty process. “I intend to ensure that no further reductions to US nuclear forces, including the New START treaty reductions, will occur without . . . explicit affirmative authorization by Congress,” he said. (See also Timeline for Nuclear Warhead Life Extensions.)