As President Biden makes new budget decisions this year, there are growing concerns over the country’s military expenditure. A report published by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) has said that the Pentagon is planning to replace its current missile system with the new Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD). This intercontinental ballistic missile force is expected to cost approximately $100 billion in acquisition and $264 billion in maintenance.
The GBSD has been called a Cold War-era weapon system and has drawn widespread criticism from proponents of nuclear disarmament. It expands upon a preexisting nuclear arsenal of 400 missiles spread across the northern and midwestern states of the U.S. The FAS report also mentioned that “the Pentagon’s flawed assessment metrics” have consistently pushed the department towards upgrading its missiles without considering “whether those requirements are indeed necessary at all.”
Along with the U.S., the United Kingdom has also been planning to surpass existing limitations on its nuclear stockpile. Both the countries are pursuing this less than two months after the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons came into effect. In a press conference held on March 17, U.N. spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric expressed concerns over the U.K.’s decision and said that it “could have a damaging impact on global stability.”
What is worrisome about these decisions is that they undo years of nuclear disarmament and anti-war efforts. Dujarric mentioned that we are witnessing nuclear weapon risks that are “higher than they have been since the Cold War.” It is important for powerful countries like the U.S. and the U.K. to recognize the disastrous consequences their actions could lead to. With a global rise in authoritarian governments, it is no surprise that military power has come to be glorified once again.
In a press conference held by Defense Writers Group, General James C. McConville, the Chief of Staff of the United States Army, said “I’m kind of an advocate of peace through strength.” However, he added that this kind of peace “comes from a very strong military, it comes from a very strong Army.” This association of peace with weapons seems like a strange concept to understand. It highlights the contradictions in McConville’s ideology, and broadly, the country’s ideology. This sentiment is not new coming from the U.S. Army. It has been observed in numerous military operations they’ve carried out over the past few decades. Disillusioned ideas of peace and democracy are often used by the U.S. to justify the devastation caused by its defense forces across the world.
In November 2020, some anti-war groups had appealed to Joe Biden demanding budget cuts to the military and the cancellation of the GBSD. However, Biden’s actions have not corresponded to their demands. In an interview with SpaceNews, Sarah Mineiro, a former staff member of the House Armed Service Committee, said that the cancellation of GBSD is “necessary public messaging but impractical for implementation.” She also dismissed the demands of anti-war groups saying that they “ignore the fact that the Space Force, GBSD and missile defense have bipartisan support on Capitol Hill.” With this kind of approach to defense policies, it is likely that America will strive to remain the violent nuclear superpower it has been.