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Funding eliminated for new US warhead

As a result of action by Congress there will be no funding for programme to build a new US 
nuclear warhead, the Reliable Replacement Warhead, in the next financial year, 2008.
Funding was finally eliminated in the Consolidated Appropriations Act signed by President Bush
on 26 December.
The plan for a new warhead cannot go forward until the President develops a strategic nuclear 
weapons plan to guide transformation and downsizing of the stockpile and nuclear weapons complex.
 
In December Congress cut all funding for the Reliable Replacement Warhead. The proposed new
US nuclear weapon.
In its Omnibus summary the Energy and Water Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations 
said:
"Repliable Replacement Warhead: Prohibits the development of a reliable replacement warhead until 
the President develops a strategic nuclear weapons plan to guide transformation and downsizing
of the stockpile and nuclear weapons complex".
Subcommittee Chairman Peter Visclosky said in his statement to Congress on the Consolidated
Appropriations Bill for Financial Year 2008:
"One of the wisest uses of funding contained in this bill is that fact that zero dollars went
to fund the Reilable Replacement Warhead, or RRW, which is this administration's proposal for a
new nuclear weapon. Moving forward on a new nuclear weapon is not something this nation should
do without great consideration. Despite the fact that the Cold War has ended, and we now face
different national security threats that include terrorists acquiring nuclear material, the
administration has not yet established a revised nuclear defence strategy and stockpile plan
to reflect the new realities of the world.
"Instead of a new nuclear weapon, the U.S. needs a comprehensive nuclear defence strategy, and
a revised stockpile plan to guide the transformation and downsizing of the complex. To put it
simply funding the RRW right now puts the cart before the horse."
The Joint (House/Senate) Explanatory Statement of the Consolidated Appropriations Act says:
"Reliable Replacement Warhead - The amended bill provides no funds for the Reliable Replacement
Warhead (RRW), as proposed by the House. As stated in both the House and Senate reports,
Congress believes a new strategic nuclear deterrent mission assessment for the 21st century is
required to define the associated stockpile requirements and determine the scope of the weapons
complex modernisation plans. The NNSA is directed to develop a long-term scientific capability
roadmap for the national laboratories to be submitted to the Committee on Appropriations."
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, omitting any funding for RRW, was finally signed by 
President Bush on 26 December.
The Subcommittee allocated $6.3 billion for the nuclear weapons programme for 2008, this is 
$214 million less than requested by President Bush.
There has been recent interest in the US in the idea of "virtual swords", this would place
the emphasis on having the capability to produce nuclear weapons as required, rather than
having large numbers of weapons in the stockpile. One of the advocates of this approach
is Joe Martz, project director at Los Alamos. There are articles on this by John Fleck in
LANL: The Rest of the Story and Jeffrey Lewis in Arms Control Wonk.