The Biden administration said Friday its 2022 federal budget will support ongoing nuclear modernization programs, including infrastructure at the National Nuclear Security Administration, while the White House continues its nuclear posture review.
The administration did not include a topline figure for the semi-autonomous Department of Energy nuclear weapons steward in its so-called skinny budget for FY ’22, which would boost non-defense spending by around 16 percent year-over-year to some $769 billion while upping defense spending by a little more than 1.5 percent, to roughly $753 million.
DoE overall would get just north of $46 billion in 2022 under the Biden budget proposal: about 10 percent more than the 2021 appropriation. The budget does not say how much funding defense nuclear programs would get. Besides the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which got about $20 billion in 2021, these include DoE’s Office of Environmental Management, which cleans up shuttered nuclear weapons production sites.
“The discretionary request maintains a strong, credible nuclear deterrent for the security of the Nation and U.S. allies,” the White House wrote in its budget summary. “While the Administration is reviewing the U.S. nuclear posture, the discretionary request supports ongoing nuclear modernization programs while ensuring that these efforts are sustainable.”
The 2022 request will also fund “a safe, secure, and effective nuclear stockpile and a continued modernization program that includes the recapitalization of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s physical infrastructure and essential facilities to ensure the deterrent remains viable,” the White House wrote.
The White House has been tight-lipped about its plans for the nuclear arsenal, with top administration officials refusing to commit to the program of record.
At a White House press conference Thursday, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm sidestepped a reporter’s question about whether the Biden administration planned to keep the NNSA on track for the spending increases detailed in the Trump administration’s final budget request.
“We have to modernize the nation’s nuclear arsenal,” Granholm said at the press conference. “We have to keep and maintain the stockpile to ensure it is safe and effective and we will continue to do that to ensure that we can deter nuclear aggression from other countries. So, our nuclear deterrent is important and it is embedded in the values of that stockpile and we will make sure that our people are safe.”