A Complex Issue

The amount of funding currently programmed to modernize the nation’s nuclear weapons complex is “slightly below” the levels to which the Obama Administration committed, but this is not a sign that the White House isn’t keeping its word, said Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) at his confirmation hearing last week to be secretary of state. “I think it’s fair to say this—that we have made significant progress toward a full funding of the amount of money that was committed,” he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during his testimony on Jan. 24. “I don’t think we’re so far off that any senator ought to sit there and say somebody hasn’t kept faith,” he added. The Administration in 2010 pledged some $85 billion out to Fiscal 2020 to modernize the nuclear weapons complex in order to win bipartisan support for the ratification of the New START arms control agreement with Russia. Kerry, as SFRC chairman, played an instrumental role in securing the Senate’s approval. “I made the commitment in a serious way,” said Kerry. He continued, “It is important for any Administration to keep faith with the commitments it makes to senators and particularly in the course of an agreement to a treaty.” (Kerry’s prepared statement) (See also A Tall Order.)