The RNEP budget: RNEP is not just a feasibility study: the Department of Energy's 2005 budget included a five-year projection—totaling $ million—for the weapons laboratories to produce a completed warhead design and begin production engineering by 2009.[ 1 ] Last year, David L. Hobson, the Republican chairman of the House Appropriations Energy and Water Development Subcommittee, zeroed out FY05 funding for the program, stating, "we cannot advocate for nuclear nonproliferation around the globe, while pursuing more usable nuclear weapons options here at home." However, the FY06 budget request includes $4 million for RNEP and an additional $ million to modify the B-2 bomber to carry the weapon.
There’s no question that the Obama administration’s attention to this issue — and, in particular, its successful efforts to persuade a dozen countries to relinquish all their nuclear explosives — has helped diminish the threat as it existed in 2009. But a sizable obstacle remains: Some countries don’t take Washington seriously, because of what they claim is . hypocrisy. Why worry about the production or retention of a relatively small amount of nuclear explosives, they say, while the United States insists on keeping thousands of nuclear weapons in its stocks — an arsenal that, it says, is vital to American national security?