WASHINGTON – Acting Secretary of the US Navy Thomas Harker previously signed a memorandum to exclude the program for creating a sea-based nuclear cruise missile from the draft budget request for this type of aircraft for the 2023 fiscal year.
Any decisions regarding further levels of funding and programs for the US nuclear arsenal will be premature until the review of the US nuclear doctrine is completed. This was stated on Wednesday by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, commenting on the decision of his subordinate from the 2023 fiscal year to refuse to finance the development of a sea-based nuclear cruise missile.
“We have repeatedly said that we will begin [soon] the revision of the nuclear doctrine. During this review, we will strive to ensure the right balance and combination of forces and means,” the head of the Pentagon said, speaking at a hearing in the Committee on Armed Forces (AF) of the House of Representatives of the US Congress. According to the US Secretary of Defense, “any announcements or decisions” regarding the next fiscal year “before the completion of this review will be premature.”
On June 4, Acting Secretary of the US Navy Thomas Harker signed a memorandum to exclude the sea-based nuclear cruise missile program from the draft budget request for this type of aircraft for the 2023 fiscal year (beginning on October 1, 2022). The appearance of this document was met with hostility by some members of the Senate and the House of Representatives of Congress, primarily from the opposition Republican Party.
The Secretary of the Navy is not a member of the President’s cabinet. The person holding this position is a civil servant and reports to the Secretary of Defense of the United States.
Earlier, Austin and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Armed Forces, General Mark Milley, admitted that they were not informed about Harker’s decision.