Saturday, December 15, 2007

Biden and Richardson Highlight Cuts to Missile Defense and RRW in Dem Prez Debate in Iowa

Like the recent Republican presidential debates, Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate in Iowa featured little discussion of nuke and nonpro issues. There was no mention, for instance, of Iran or the recently released NIE on Iran’s nuclear weapons programs. The debate (transcript here) instead focused mainly on domestic issues and the few references to nuke and nonpro issues were couched in those terms.

On how to balance the budget, Biden responded by highlighting cuts to several contentious programs, including missile defense and RRW:

BIDEN: … Just by eliminating the [Iraq] war, eliminating the $200 billion in tax cuts that aren't needed for -- goes to the top one percent, if you add it all up, and by cutting somewhere in the order of $20 billion a year out of the military for special programs, from star wars, to a new atomic weapon, to the F-22, to the Nimitz-Class Destroyer, you can save $350 billion.

Later as a follow-up, candidates were asked how they would pay for their proposed programs given the continuing costs of the Iraq war. Biden again mentioned cutting missile defense and RRW, with Richardson also jumped into the mix:

BIDEN: … You can take $20 billion a year out of the Defense Department just by eliminating weapons systems; not building the new atomic weapon, not building Star Wars.


RICHARDSON: Well, I detailed $57 billion in military reductions, which involve missile systems, procurement reform.

Loyal readers might recall that I highlighted Richardson’s ambitious plan back in late September. It includes scaling back the National Missile Defense program; eliminating the Pentagon's ‘Space-Based Offensive Weapons'; eliminating RRW and Complex 2030 [now called “Complex Transformation”]; reducing the U.S. nuclear posture to 600 deployed warheads, with 400 in reserve and eliminating all "tactical" nuclear weapons; and canceling the Airborne Laser Program.


Plutonium Page said...

Thanks! I can't watch the debates unless I stay up until 2 am or so, plus if they aren't on CNN or CNBC/MSNBC, we can't see them anyway.

On a semi-related note, check out Bill Richardson's piece in the latest Foreign Affairs:

A New Realism: A Realistic and Principled Foreign Policy.

There's some good stuff there.

Anonymous said...

Good pickup of an important but not highly visible topic. Congratulations.