By Jane Stoever
The Biden Administration has announced its budget request for the Department of Energy (DOE), which manages the US nuclear weapons arsenal.
KC-area peace activists like to track how much taxpayers fork over for the facility in our back yard, the Kansas City National Security Campus; the KCNSC makes or procures 85 percent of the mechanical and electronical components for US nuclear weapons. Hazard a guess: Is the proposed 2023 budget for the KCNSC up or down?
You guessed it (probably): Up!
Does this make you feel more secure? Maybe not! Jim Hannah of PeaceWorks has dubbed the KCNSC the Global Insecurity Factory.
But back to the bucks. The graph shows the last two years’ operating budget and the Fiscal Year 2023 budget request. Note: The 2022 budget used an annualized continuing resolution, meaning lawmakers probably had difficulty coming to agreement and set the budget by resolution instead of outright enactment.
Referring to the costs, PeaceWorks Board Member Ann Suellentrop says, “These are our tax dollars being put into stupid, genocidal weapons.”
Part of the DOE 2023 budget request covers five weapon systems the KCNSC is working on, including the life extension program for the B61-12 (an air-launched nuclear bomb). Refurbished B61-12 bombs are expected to be delivered soon to European bases of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Suellentrop herself went to Germany to protest the US B61 bombs there in 2018. Many Europeans deplore having nukes on their lands, with their pilots expected to drop the bombs if NATO so orders. Some $250 million is the budget request for KCNSC’s 2023 work on the B61-12, up from $241 million last year.
The DOE 2023 budget request would raise “enterprise plutonium support” from $7.9 million in 2022 to $12.7 million in 2023. The 2023 request also would hike “plutonium modernization” from $7.9 million in 2022 to $12.7 million in 2023.
Suellentrop says, “This budget info will be used during the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability’s DC Days May 16-20 online to push back against these horrific weapons of mass destruction.” Suellentrop is former chair of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability. If you are interested in participating online or just watching the lobbying, please contact her at 913-271-7025 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Jane Stoever serves on the PeaceWorks Communications Team. © 2022, Jane Stoever, Ann Suellentrop, Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 4.0 International License.