When it comes to nuclear weapons, the U.S. and Russia have not yet shaken the technological and strategic legacy of the Cold War. Across the Great Plains and the Russian steppe, hundreds of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) wait ready to be launched at a moment’s notice. Once launched, they cannot be recalled.
At the same time, it’s clear nuclear-armed states are long overdue for a serious reconsideration of their spending priorities. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the profound vulnerabilities of current approaches to security. In the U.S., nearly a century spent prioritizing endless competition for military supremacy over the basic building blocks of a dignified life for its citizens — high-quality healthcare, education, housing, and basic infrastructure designed to mitigate and withstand the worsening effects of a changing climate — has yielded a profound insecurity, a society constantly on the brink of self-destruction.
A growing chorus of experts, advocates and lawmakers is calling for the elimination of the dangerous, destabilizing ICBM force. Global Zero’s 2018 Alternative Nuclear Posture Review outlined a comprehensive vision for a more stable, credible U.S. nuclear strategy with a force of submarine-based weapons with bombers in reserve, phasing out the vulnerable, unnecessary ICBM force without needless investment in a replacement.
Dr. Bruce G. Blair and Dr. Frank von Hippel
[ICBMs] are a civilization-ending accident waiting to happen. It defies reason to maintain the current missiles in this risky configuration, and it is totally misguided to replace these missiles in the same old vulnerable silos. Our [ICBMs] should be taken off hair-trigger, phased out and not replaced.
We’re calling for the elimination of the U.S. ICBM force as a strategic vulnerability. Currently, the force being replaced by a nearly $300 billion dollar program, the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent Program – a massive waste of resources on weapons the U.S. doesn’t need.
We’re doing what we do best: providing detailed, actionable plans for navigating the policy shifts that need to happen to build a world without nuclear weapons. Led by Associate Partner Emma Claire Foley, we’re developing proposals for replacing the economic impact of U.S. ICBMs and addressing actual urgent policy priorities while sustaining the communities that live and work in their shadow.
Biden Goes ‘Full Steam Ahead’ on Trump’s Nuclear Expansion Despite Campaign Rhetoric, Politico, June 2021
A Call to Rethink Priorities, May 2020
Who Needs ICBMs?, Defense One, Aug 2019
Utah and the Nation Would Be Safer Without the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent, Deseret News, September 2019
The End of Nuclear Warfighting: Moving to a Deterrence-Only Posture, Alternative Nuclear Posture Review, Sept 2018