There is broad bipartisan agreement that few national security issues are as critical as how to deal with America's crippling debt. Getting America's fiscal house in order will require difficult budgetary choices. This means that we need to make smart decisions about what is most needed to safeguard U.S. national security in the 21st century.
A close look at the Pentagon budget reveals numerous programs that are more suitable to defeating the Cold War-era Soviet Union than to addressing current security threats, such as weak and failing states, cyberattacks and nuclear terrorism. A particularly egregious example is the budget for nuclear weapons programs.
The U.S. currently spends more than $30 billion per year to upgrade, operate and sustain the U.S. nuclear arsenal. These costs will increase significantly in light of the Obama administration's pledge last year, made as part of its effort to win Senate ratification of the New START treaty, to spend at least $200 billion over the next decade on new nuclear delivery systems and warhead production facilities.