New START: Once Again, Where Is the Disarmament in This Picture?

You might think that a new arms control treaty might be anything but a cause of celebration to the director of the National Nuclear Security Administration, the agency that maintains America’s nuclear weapons. A decrease in nuclear weapons makes inroads into his turf, right? But Thomas D’Agostino’s exuberance about New START positively spills off the pages of an op-ed he wrote for the Washington Times, Unprecedented commitment to modernize.

Over the next decade, the Obama administration has proposed investing more than $85 billion to modernize the nuclear stockpile, recapitalize the infrastructure that supports it and reinvigorate the science and technology at the core of our stockpile stewardship efforts.

Having worked on NNSA budget issues through the administrations of three presidents representing both parties, I can say with confidence that this is the most robust, sustained commitment to modernizing our nuclear deterrent since the end of the Cold War. . . .

My predecessor, former NNSA Administrator Linton Brooks, put it best, saying he “would have killed” for budgets like this and for the top-level support we have gotten from the White House.

D’Agostino barely nods at the disarmament component to the treaty.

When President Obama released his Nuclear Posture Review earlier this year, he outlined the need to move toward a smaller stockpile. . .

You’d think D’Agostino would be more discreet about extolling New START as a means of ensuring the future of the nuclear weapons industry rather than as a disarmament treaty. The degree to which he isn’t is a measure of the extent to which the Obama administration has given away the nuclear farm — to the tune of that $85 million mentioned above — to secure passage of New START and achieve another Health-Care Reform-like Pyrrhic victory.