US Spent $98,000 Per Minute on Nuclear Weapons in 2023, New Report Says via Truthout

By Jon Letman

June 17, 2024

As raging wars in Gaza and Ukraine and sharpening geopolitical tensions fuel instability and uncertainty, global spending on nuclear weapons surged by more than 13 percent to $91.4 billion in 2023, according to a newly published report by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

According to the report, last year the world’s nine nuclear-armed nations all increased spending on their arsenals at a rate equivalent to $250 million per day. The largest rise in nuclear spending was by the United States, with a nearly 18 percent increase over 2022 to $51.5 billion — the equivalent of nearly $98,000 per minute — more than the other eight countries combined.

As the U.S. continues to modernize all three legs of its nuclear triad (bombers, submarines and intercontinental ballistic missiles), in 2023, it spent more than four times the amount spent by China, the second-highest-ranked nuclear nation.

By comparison, China increased its spending on nuclear weapons 6.7 percent to $11.9 billion, followed by Russia at $8.3 billion, the third-highest spender. Both the U.S. and Russia have a total inventory of more than 5,000 nuclear weapons. With 500 of its own nuclear weapons, China remains a distant third, but analysts say it is “significantly expanding” the size of its arsenal.


ICAN, which has been monitoring global nuclear weapons spending since 2019, reports that total spending has increased by 34 percent ($23.2 billion) over the last five years. That works out to a cumulative total of $387 billion for nine nuclear-armed nations to maintain, modernize and expand nuclear arsenals over five years. During that period, all nine have consistently increased their nuclear spending.

The report notes that in 2021 the executive director of the World Food Programme estimated that global hunger could be eradicated by 2030 for $360 billion, $27 billion less than what the nine nuclear nations spent in five years.


Lobbying and Profiting

At the heart of the sharp rise in nuclear weapons spending are multinational corporations. Some are household names, but most are unknown to the public. For these companies and their shareholders, the production of nuclear weapons generates tens of billions of dollars in profits.

ICAN’s report offers detailed summaries of 20 prominent companies which in 2023 spent over $118 million to lobby government officials and support think tanks. Last year these companies gained almost $8 billion in new contracts that support the nuclear weapons enterprise in multiple countries.

Last year the world’s nine nuclear-armed nations all increased spending on their arsenals at a rate equivalent to $250 million per day.

Top ranked among the 20 companies included in the report were Honeywell International ($6.1 billion), Northrop Grumman ($5.9 billion) and BAE Systems ($3.3 billion) based on reported 2023 nuclear weapons-related revenue.

Honeywell, which builds key components for missiles designed to carry nuclear weapons, also supports management and operations of multiple U.S. nuclear weapons production facilities. According to the ICAN report, in 2023, the company spent over $10 million lobbying in France and the U.S.

Northrop Grumman, one of the world’s largest weapons manufacturers, plays a central role in nuclear weapons production, including Sentinel, the replacement for the aging Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), which is mired in cost overruns. In its own news release, Northrop Grumman reported a $426 million sales increase in 2023 for the program that will replace the Minuteman III, which are housed in underground silos in Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wyoming.

Honeywell and Northrop Grumman did not respond to Truthout’s requests for comment.


Read more.

This entry was posted in *English and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply