WASHINGTON, October 20 (RIA Novosti) - High nuclear modernization costs for the United States are based on the will to maintain parity with Russia, rather than on security needs, Tom Collina, Director of Policy at the Ploughshares Fund told RIA Novosti Monday.
"I think the United States needs to maintain its weapons as long as it has them, but it doesn't need as many and it doesn't need to spend as much on modernizations," Collina said at the Monday conference of the Arms Control Association (ACA).
Asked about what number of weapons and delivery systems would be adequate, Collina said that "right now the political answer for the United States, is 'as many warheads as Russia has.' And for Russia it's the same answer. Even if there is no security rationale for that, that is the political requirement, unfortunately."
An ACA report "The Unaffordable Arsenal," released in September, explores the fiscal stresses on a shrinking defense budget of certain elements of the US nuclear arsenal.
Independent reports have estimated US nuclear modernization costs, under current trends, to reach $1 trillion over the next 30 years. Challenging the practicality of such a substantial arsenal, the report, co-authored by Collina, states that "none of the highest priority threats facing the United States can be effectively resolved with nuclear weapons or the buildup of nuclear capabilities".
Collina concluded that the United States and Russia could work together toward diminishing their nuclear arsenals, noting that "the United States can dramatically reduce its modernization costs by not buying so many delivery systems, and not buying them so soon", which could be achieved while maintaining a parity situation with Russia.
In April 2010, US President Barack Obama and former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the so-called New START Treaty, providing for a further reduction of deployed nuclear missiles, bombers, warheads and launchers by both parties.