Skip to main content

The Pentagon wants to replace its arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) with a new Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program expected to cost around $260 billion over its lifecycle. These new nuclear missiles, part of a $1.6 trillion nuclear weapons modernization project, are costly, unnecessary, and dangerous.

There are cheaper and more effective ways to address the real security challenges America faces without escalating nuclear risks.

As Congress struggles to meet the challenges of Covid-19 and climate change, these expensive new missiles are a poor use of U.S. taxpayer dollars. GBSD provides no military capability that U.S. nuclear missile submarines and bombers do not—and in fact it would increase the risk of blundering into a nuclear war by accident or miscalculation. There are cheaper and more effective ways to address the real security challenges America faces without escalating nuclear risks.

The papers below provide a more detailed look at the specific factors that make the GBSD a wasteful and unwise choice.

Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) Is a Poor Use of Tax Dollars

There are many areas where the Pentagon budget can be cut without harming U.S. national security. The Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), which would replace existing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), stands out. The GBSD is wasteful, expensive, and unnecessary. There are better and cheaper options.

Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) Increase the Risk of Nuclear War

If the point of having nuclear weapons is to prevent them from ever being used, then we have a national security requirement—as well as a moral obligation—to ensure that they reduce the likelihood of nuclear war. The U.S. ICBM force does the opposite.

Alternatives to Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles

Before committing to nearly $100 billion in acquisition costs and more than $260 billion in life cycle costs for GBSD, Congress should consider whether the United States needs either alternative ICBMs or alternatives to ICBMs.

Diana Ohlbaum, Senior Strategist and Legislative Director for Foreign Policy

Diana Ohlbaum

Senior Strategist and Legislative Director for Foreign Policy
Diana Ohlbaum directs FCNL’s foreign policy lobbying team and leads an effort to replace the current U.S. foreign policy paradigm of military domination and national superiority with a more ethical and effective one based on cooperation and mutual respect.

Join our email list!

Quakers and Friends are changing public policy.