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OPINION

Planned Defense Cuts Endanger Nuke Spending Plan

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A new U.S. congressional agreement to reduce funding to military-related programs has placed in doubt a nuclear weapons complex spending plan negotiated last year amid efforts to win ratification of a strategic arms control deal with Russia, Arms Control Today reported in its latest issue.

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“The challenge here is that we have to recapitalize all three legs [of the nuclear triad], and we don’t have the money to do it,” then-Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. James Cartwright said on July 14 ahead of his retirement. The "nuclear triad" refers to the nation's land-, air- and sea-based nuclear deterrent.

The Defense Department backed plans for an anticipated $350 million in funding reductions spread out over a decade, but it has not expressed support for at least $500 billion in potential cuts that could begin in 2013 under a law adopted last month. Those additional cuts would be triggered if lawmakers fail to enact additional budget reductions to be negotiated by a special congressional panel.

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