President Joe Biden's administration is attempting to end the military development of some sea-launched nuclear missiles first ordered under former President Donald Trump.
The decision, revealed Thursday in 2022's National Defense Strategy, comes despite recommendations from top Pentagon officials to maintain the program, which was initiated in 2018 to assist W76 submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
"We concluded SLCM-N [sea-launched cruise missile program] was no longer necessary given the deterrence contribution of the W76-2, uncertainty regarding whether SLCM-N on its own would provide leverage to negotiate arms control limits on Russia's NSNW [non-strategic nuclear weapons]," the report read.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin defended the move during a press briefing on Thursday, arguing that the U.S. nuclear weapons inventory is already solid and that adding sea-launched cruise missiles into the mix was unnecessary, The Hill reported.
"We determined, as we looked at our inventory, that we did not need that capability. We have a lot of capability in our nuclear inventory," Austin stated, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin "understands what our capability is."
The news comes as the Biden administration has been under heavy criticism from congressional Republicans for its cutbacks to national defense.
Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, specifically revealed to Newsmax's "Rob Schmitt Tonight" last week that "it's a sort of secret in Washington our defense industrial base is broken."
"A lot of it has to do with production," the top-ranked Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee stated. "They don't have the parts to, say, go to SpaceX or go to make F-35s or to make our advanced weapon systems. It's a real problem right now.
"The military sale issue is probably the biggest threat to our national security right now," he emphasized.
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