A proposed Department of Energy nuclear weapons budget due for a Committee vote in the House Tuesday would tap the brakes forcefully on the next land-based, intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) warhead and dump a pair of nuclear weapons programs the Trump administration called for last year.
That is according to a detailed bill report released Monday by the House Appropriations energy and water development subcommittee. The panel has recommended a 2020 budget of about $16 billion for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA): about 6 percent higher than the 2019 budget, but about 5 percent lower than what the White House requested for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. The full House Appropriations Committee was scheduled to mark up the bill at 12 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday.
In the bill report released Monday, the subcommittee recommended a combined $300 million less in 2020 for future W87-1 ICBM warheads and the specialized facilities that will produce the fissile cores ― or pits ― of those silo-based weapons.
The subcommittee proposed that level of funding as House Armed Services chair Adam Smith’s (D-Wash.) seeks to trim the U.S. ICBM fleet and slow the Pentagon’s procurement of Ground Based Strategic Deterrent missiles slated to replace the U.S. fleet of 400, 1970s-vintage Minuteman III missiles starting around 2030.
At the same time, the subcommittee bill would provide a combined $40 million less than NNSA requested for two programs initiatives started by the Trump administration’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review: building a low-yield, submarine-launched, ballistic missile warheads called W76-2, and keeping the B83 megaton-class gravity bomb in war-ready shape into the 2020s.
In a markup last week, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), chair of the House Appropriations energy and water development subcommittee, said she would not fund “costly, poorly defined recommendations from the President’s  Nuclear Posture Review.”
An all GOP Congress appropriated $65 million for W76-2 in 2019 but did not boost B83 sustainment to levels sought by the administration. The NNSA plans to deliver the first W76-2 low-yield warhead to the Navy by Sept. 30.
Click here to download Defense Daily‘s 2020 NNSA Budget Tracker from Google Drive. The tracker, downloadable as a PDF or spreadsheet, contains line-by-line comparisons of proposed, requested and enacted budgets for the agency’s nuclear weapons and non-proliferation programs.