Some congressional Democrats have introduced a bill to shift some of the spending for a new weapons system to other uses that actually help people.
Congressional Democrats are introducing legislation to transfer $1bn in funding from a controversial new intercontinental ballistic missile to the development of a universal Covid vaccine.
The Investing in Cures Before Missiles (ICBM) Act, introduced in the House and Senate on Friday, would stop funding on the proposed new missile, known as the ground-based strategic deterrent (GBSD) which is projected to cost a total of $264bn over its projected lifespan, and discontinue spending on a linked warhead modification program.
Instead, the life of the existing US intercontinental ballistic missile, the Minuteman III, would be extended until 2050, and an independent study commissioned on how best to do that.
“With all of the global challenges we face, the last thing we should be doing is giving billions to defense contractors to build missiles we don’t need to keep as a strong nuclear deterrence,” Ro Khanna, Democratic congressman from California and the bill’s co-author in the House, said.
The congressman said he was optimistic the new administration would support the bill.
“This will remain an uphill battle. Northrop Grumman is lobbying hard against this bill,” Khanna said. “Given we have Democratic majorities in both chambers and a Democrat in the White House, we think our chances are better, particularly by putting pressure on the administration to pause GBSD and consider extending Minuteman III.”
Jessica Sleight, the program director at Global Zero, a disarmament advocacy group, said: “The US nuclear arsenal far exceeds any plausible mission requirements put forth by the Pentagon. Even in the best of times, $264bn for new nuclear missiles is money we can’t spare for weapons we don’t need. In the middle of a devastating pandemic, it’s irresponsible.”
This is a small step but should be the start of a general shift away from the wasteful spending on weapons systems. You can be sure that the military-industrial complex will fight tooth and nail to preserve what are essentially corporate welfare programs.