The decision on whether to design and build the W93 is part of a larger debate about a planned $1 trillion upgrade of the U.S. nuclear arsenal of aircraft, subs, missiles, bombs and warheads.
Often lost in abstract debates over U.S. nuclear weapons is how much firepower they represent. Just one of America’s 14 Ohio-class submarines — a fraction of the total U.S. nuclear force at sea, on land and in the air — could deliver explosive power nearly 10 times that of all the bombs dropped in World War II, including the two atomic ones. If just that one sub’s weapons were used, the blast and consequent climate changes would kill scores of millions of people, studies show.
The Armed Services committees have endorsed launching the W93 warhead program in fiscal 2021. But the House’s Energy-Water spending bill would provide no funding for the president’s $53 million request to begin design work in the coming fiscal year, due to what House appropriators call NNSA’s management challenges. Senate appropriators have yet to weigh in.
On Tuesday, the House Rules Committee rejected for consideration an amendment to a package of spending bills by Michael R. Turner of Ohio, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, to restore the House Appropriations cut.
“As I have repeatedly said, there is no time to waste when updating the nuclear triad,” Turner told CQ Roll Call in a statement.