Obama administration officials on Tuesday defended plans to overhaul the U.S. nuclear arsenal and modernize the B-61 nuclear warhead, according to Reuters.
Madelyn Creedon, assistant secretary of Defense for global strategic affairs, told a House Armed Services Committee subpanel the aging atomic weapons must be modernized so that policy-setters will back the administration’s plans to cut the size of the overall nuclear stockpile. In particular, the over-budget and behind-schedule effort to refurbish the U.S. arsenal of B-61 gravity bombs — roughly 200 of which are fielded at overseas bases — must continue, she told the Strategic Forces subcommittee.
“There are some who believe that there is a less expensive alternative … that was never considered, but I can assure you that each and every modernization design proposal available was presented to the Nuclear Weapons Council (NWC) during its decision process,” Creedon said in prepared remarks. “Only after rigorous and thorough evaluation of each possibility did the Council unanimously conclude that the [planned B-61 program] … was the least expensive long-term option that could meet military requirements.”
Estimates for the cost of the B-61 life-extension program range from the National Nuclear Security Administration’s figure of $8.2 billion to the Defense Department’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation calculation of $10.4 billion.
Kingston Reif, an analyst at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, said it would be unwise to make such an investment when defense budgets are tight.
“That program is unaffordable, unrealistic and unnecessary because there are cheaper alternatives to extend the life of the weapon,” he said in an interview with Reuters.
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Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz "will not have a major speaking role or preside over daily convention proceedings this week," and is under increasing pressure to resign. The DNC Rules Committee on Saturday named Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge as "permanent chair of the convention." At issue: internal DNC emails leaked by Wikileaks that show how "the DNC favored Clinton during the primary and tried to take down Bernie Sanders by questioning his religion."
- A Rasmussen Reports poll shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, 43%-42%, the fourth week in a row he's led the poll (one of the few poll in which he's led consistently of late).
- A Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Clinton leading 40%-36%. In a four-way race, she maintains her four-point lead, 39%-35%, with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein pulling 7% and 3%, respectively.
- And the LA Times/USC daily tracking poll shows a dead heat, with Trump ahead by about half a percentage point.
In an election between two candidates around 70 years of age, millennials strongly prefer one over the other. Hillary Clinton has a 47%-30% edge among votes 18 to 29. She also leads 46%-36% among voters aged 30 to 44.
According to an online tracking poll released by New Latino Voice, Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump among Latino voters, attracting support from 81 percent of Latino voters, to just 12 percent support for Trump. The results of this poll are consistent with those from a series of other surveys conducted by various organizations. With Pew Research predicting the 2016 electorate will be 12 percent Hispanic, which would be the highest ever, Trump could be in serious trouble if he can't close the gap.