Mary Perner, Livermore

“With all of the global challenges we face, the last thing we should be doing is giving billions to defense contractors to build missiles we don’t need to keep as a strong nuclear deterrence” - this according to California Congressman Ro Khanna, who recently joined Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey to introduce the Investing in Cures Before Missiles (ICBM) Act to the House and Senate.

The measure would stop funding on the proposed new missile known as the ground-based strategic deterrent (GBSD), projected to cost $264 billion over its lifetime, and stop spending on a linked Livermore Lab nuclear warhead modification program, the W87-1. Monies would be redirected to extending the life of an existing intercontinental ballistic missile, the Minuteman III and a study commissioned on how best to do that.

The bill transfers $1 billion in funding for the GBSD to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (Niaid) for development work on a universal coronavirus vaccine to address the virus’s many variants. It would also divert money from the LLNL based program to modify the W87-1 nuclear warhead to fit the GBSD and dedicate it instead to research and preparations to combat future bio-threats.

Sen. Markey states, “The United States should invest in a vaccine of mass prevention before another new land-based weapon of mass destruction”. “The ICBM Act signals that we intend to make the world safe from nuclear weapons and prioritize spending that saves lives, rather than ends them.”

After the past year of pandemic, this is a sentiment many of us can, and hopefully will, support. For more information on this and related issues, visit,