Analyst: NATO Poised to Ramp Up Nuclear-Arms Security Spending

A U.S. F-16 fighter jet stationed in 2011 at Belgium's Kleine Brogel air base, one of several European military air installations believed to host U.S. nuclear weapons.
National Journal
Add to Briefcase
Diane Barnes
March 12, 2014, 9:32 a.m.

An is­sue ex­pert says NATO is pre­par­ing a ma­jor in­crease in spend­ing to pro­tect U.S. nuc­le­ar arms fielded in al­lied European states.

The U.S. De­fense De­part­ment’s fisc­al 2015 budget pro­pos­al calls for $154 mil­lion to bol­ster de­fenses at mil­it­ary in­stall­a­tions spread across Bel­gi­um, Ger­many, Italy, Tur­key and the Neth­er­lands. That amount would come in ad­di­tion to $80 mil­lion the al­li­ance has spent in the last 14 years to pro­tect nuc­le­ar arms in the six European na­tions, says a Tues­day re­port by Hans Kristensen, who heads the Nuc­le­ar In­form­a­tion Pro­ject at the Fed­er­a­tion of Amer­ic­an Sci­ent­ists.

Kristensen said more than three-fourths of the se­cur­ity spend­ing to date took place in 2011 and 2012, after an Air Force pan­el de­term­ined that de­fenses at most U.S. nuc­le­ar-arms fa­cil­it­ies in Europe did not meet Pentagon stand­ards.

Ex­pendit­ures in those two years ap­pears to have been partly in re­sponse to find­ings by the Air Force Blue Rib­bon Re­view, Kristensen said.

“The ad­di­tion­al $154 mil­lion sug­gests that the up­grades in 2011-2012 did not fix all the se­cur­ity is­sues at the European nuc­le­ar bases,” he wrote in his as­sess­ment, pub­lished on the FAS Stra­tegic Se­cur­ity blog.

The United States de­ploys 184 B-61 nuc­le­ar grav­ity bombs in Europe at an an­nu­al cost of roughly $100 mil­lion, Kristensen wrote. He said the coun­try is ex­pec­ted to spend $10 bil­lion more in com­ing years to re­fur­bish the weapons, as well as “hun­dreds of mil­lions” of dol­lars on re­lated F-35 air­craft up­dates.


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.