Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940 (Google eBook)

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Stephen I. Schwartz
Brookings Institution Press, Dec 1, 2011 - Political Science - 680 pages
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Since 1945, the United States has manufactured and deployed more than 70,000 nuclear weapons to deter and if necessary fight a nuclear war. Some observers believe the absence of a third world war confirms that these weapons were a prudent and cost-effective response to the uncertainty and fear surrounding the Soviet Union's military and political ambitions during the cold war. As early as 1950, nuclear weapons were considered relatively inexpensive providing " a bigger bang for a buck" and were thoroughly integrated into U.S. forces on that basis. Yet this assumption was never validated. Indeed, for more than fifty years scant attention has been paid to the enormous costs of this effortmore than $5 trillion thus farand its short and long-term consequences for the nation. Based on four years of extensive research, Atomic Audit is the first book to document the comprehensive costs of U.S. nuclear weapons, assembling for the first time anywhere the actual and estimated expenditures for the program since its creation in 1940. The authors provide a unique perspective on U.S. nuclear policy and nuclear weapons, tracking their development from the Manhattan Project of World War II to the present day and assessing each aspect of the program, including research, development, testing, and production; deployment; command, control, communications, and intelligence; and defensive measures. They also examine the costs of dismantling nuclear weapons, the management and disposal of large quantities of toxic and radioactive wastes left over from their production, compensation for persons harmed by nuclear weapons activities, nuclear secrecy, and the economic implications of nuclear deterrence.Utilizing archival and newly declassified government documents and data, this richly documented book demonstrates how a variety of factorsthe open-ended nature of nuclear deterrence, faulty assumptions about the cost-effectiveness of nuclear weapons, regular misrepresentation of and overreaction to the Soviet threat, the desire to maintain nuclear superiority, bureaucratic and often arbitrary decisions, pork barrel politics, and excessive secrecyall drove the acquisition of an arsenal far larger than what many contemporary civilian and military leaders deemed necessary. These factors also contributed to lax financial oversight of the entire effort by Congress and the executive branch. Atomic Audit concludes with recommendations for strengthening atomic accountability and fostering greater public understanding of nuclear weapons programs and policies. Contributing authors are Bruce G. Blair, The Brookings Institution; Thomas S. Blanton and William Burr, the National Security Archive; Steven M. Kosiak, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments; Arjun Makhijani, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research; Robert S. Norris, Natural Resources Defense Council; Kevin O'Neill, Institute for Science and International Security; John Pike, Federation of American Scientists; and William J. Weida, The Colorado College.
  

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Contents

Introduction
1
Building the Bomb
33
Deploying the Bomb
105
Targeting and Controlling the Bomb
197
Defending against the Bomb
269
Dismantling the Bomb
327
Nuclear Waste Management and Environmental Remediation
353
Victims of the Bomb
395
The Economic Implications of Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Deterrence
519
Strengthening Atomic Accountability
545
US Nuclear Weapons Production Costs 194896
559
Selected DOD Nuclear Weapons Program Costs 196295
567
Nuclear Weapons Production and Naval Nuclear Propulsion Facilities
589
Assessing the Costs of Other Nuclear Weapon States
611
Steering Committee of the US Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project
617
Selected Bibliography
625

The Costs and Consequences of Nuclear Secrecy
433
Congressional Oversight of the Bomb
485

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Page xxi - A large measure of sacrifice and discipline will be demanded of the American people. They will be asked to give up some of the benefits which they have come to associate with their freedoms.

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About the author (2011)

Stephen I. Schwartz is a guest scholar with the Foreign Policy Studies program at the Brookings Institution and director of the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project.

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