The U.S. government doesn’t consider the B61-12 to be new – simply an upgrade of an existing weapon. Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert at the nonpartisan Federation of American Scientists in Washington, is resolute that the bomb violates a 2010 Obama administration pledge not to produce nuclear weapons with new military capabilities. “We do not have a nuclear guided bomb in our arsenal today,” Kristensen said. “It is a new weapon.”
Since 1998, the four defense contractors running the two New Mexico nuclear weapons labs, Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratory, have contributed more than $20 million to congressional campaigns around the nation. Last year alone, they spent almost $18 million lobbying Washington to ensure that funding for nuclear weapons projects continues even as nuclear stockpiles shrink.