In light of the growing price tag to sustain and recapitalize the U.S. nuclear arsenal, the Trump administration’s controversial proposals to expand U.S. nuclear capabilities, the risk of the collapse of the U.S.-Russian arms control architecture, and concerns about the emergence of a new arms race, Congress—specifically the Armed Services, Appropriations, and Intelligence committees—should hold a series of hearings in 2019 and 2020 to examine U.S. nuclear strategy and spending with government officials and non-governmental experts.
Areas of focus should include:
• nuclear targeting doctrine and requirements, including the requirement for prompt launch;
• reduction of the risk of nuclear miscalculation and accidental nuclear use;
• the budget and programmatic challenges facing the nuclear recapitalization effort;
• the rationale and costs of sustaining the ICBM force;
• the threats to nuclear command, control, and communications capabilities and the Pentagon’s plans to upgrade those capabilities;
• the benefits of extending New START and the costs of failing to do so;
• the status of the Pentagon’s implementation of the Trump NPR;
• the impact of the development of increasingly advanced cyber, space, missile defense, long-range conventional strike, and autonomous systems on strategic stability; and
• Russian nuclear doctrine and strategy.