Seventy-five years ago, on July 16, the United States detonated the world’s first nuclear weapons test explosion in the New Mexican desert. Just three weeks later, U.S. Air Force B-29 bombers executed surprise atomic bomb attacks on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing at least 214,000 people by the end of 1945, and injuring untold thousands more who died in the years afterward.
If the White House will not rule out the option of conducting new nuclear tests, Congress should step in to ensure that such testing is not an option the president may exercise unilaterally, now or in the future.
The Trump administration is now considering conducting a nuclear test for political signaling purposes, as a ploy in future arms talks with Russia and China. Worse, the Republican-led Senate Armed Services Committee authorized $10 million specifically for a nuclear test blast if ordered by President Trump. Key Senators and members of the House are pushing back but they need to hear your support for prohibiting funding for nuclear testing.
The Trump administration is weighing whether to conduct a nuclear test explosion as a negotiating standpoint as it seeks an arms control agreement with Russia and China. Making matters worse, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved an amendment to the fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act to authorize $10 million to execute a nuclear test if necessary.
Three and a half years since taking office, the Trump administration has failed to develop, let alone pursue, a coherent nuclear arms control strategy. The administration’s official nuclear policy document, the “2018 Nuclear Posture Review,” barely discusses arms control as a risk reduction tool.
The Trump administration’s plan to ramp up production of plutonium is unnecessary and likely to exceed current budget and schedule goals.
Citing Russian noncompliance, the Trump administration has triggered the Open Skies Treaty’s withdrawal provision.
Officials have agreed on a venue to discuss arms control, but not an agenda.
U.S. national security officials discussed the possibility of resuming U.S. nuclear testing for political purposes, but have made no decision so far.