Preserve Cost-Controlling Provisions in National Defense Authorization Act
Nov. 28, 2012
Dear Armed Services Committee Member:
On behalf of our combined memberships, we urge you to support provisions in H.R 4310 and S. 3254, the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act, that help us finally get a handle on runaway costs at the Defense Department and National Nuclear Security Agency (NNSA) by demanding a detailed accounting of the present and future costs of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems.
Section 1065 in the House version passed in May would require a “detailed estimate of the budget requirements associated with sustaining and modernizing the nuclear deterrent of the United States,” including functions such as basing and training, over the ten-year period following the bill’s enactment. The provision would also require a classified annex checked by the Government Accountability Office describing the requirements’ rationale and local costs in detail. Section 1073 of the Senate version of the bill would require the Congressional Budget Office to conduct a similar report. These provisions are critical to planning for upcoming defense costs like the $10+ billion next-generation bomber.
The cost of the United States nuclear weapons complex has prompted much discussion over the past year. No President or Congress has ever attempted to create a unified, comprehensive nuclear weapons budget: The closest we have is the annual NNSA budget and what the Defense Department calls a “major force program,” which neglects many overhead, support, and research costs plus all costs for tactical nuclear weapons. Independent estimates of total nuclear security spending range from nearly $30 billion to upwards of $50 billion per year, not counting classified funding.
Whatever your opinion on the number of nuclear weapons and delivery systems we need, you need to know how much they cost. Resources are always part of strategy, and it’s impossible to craft effective strategy without understanding its cost. Rampant cost overruns and mismanagement at NNSA resulting in the halting of a multi-billion dollar facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory, to cite just one example, make this need even more pressing.
We urge you to ensure these cost-controlling provisions stay in the final version of the NDAA. Faced with a $16 trillion debt, we cannot tolerate waste in any part of the federal budget, and the costs of nuclear weapons have gone unexamined far too long.
For more information, contact Laura Peterson at (202) 546-8500 x114 or Laura [at] taxpayer.net
Ryan Alexander, President
Taxpayers for Common Sense
Mattie Duppler, Executive Director
Cost of Government Center
Thomas A. Schatz, President
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
Pete Sepp, Executive Vice President
National Taxpayers Union
David Williams, President
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
CC: House and Senate Leadership