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Kroc IPJ Executive Director Andrew Blum's Perspective on Why the U.S. Buys Too Many Missiles and Not Enough Masks

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Andrew Blum, Executive Director of the Kroc School's Institute for Peace and Justice, contributed a piece in The New Republic on how a gender lens can help us understand why the US buys too many missiles and not enough masks.

The article begins with the following:

Earlier this month, the Pentagon inked a contract to pay $818 million to Lockheed for hundreds of new extended-range, air-launched cruise missiles with thousand-pound explosive warheads. By then, Americans had learned that America’s Strategic National Stockpile—the federal emergency medical supply cache, whose annual budget is less than that missile contract—faced critical shortages of ventilators and even N95 respirator masks, which retail (in ordinary times) for 60 to 80 cents.

“How many of the 4,000 nuclear weapons that the United States will spend $50 billion on this year (and next and next and next) would you trade for enough ventilators, masks, ICU beds, and test kits right now?” arms-control expert and former Obama national security aide Jon Wolfsthal had tweeted in late March. It shouldn’t be a purely rhetorical question. The Department of Defense’s budget is three-quarters of a trillion dollars; the rough amount it spent on Lockheed’s cruise missile contract alone “could buy 20,000 high-end ventilators,” as defense technology writer Kelsey Atherton points out.

Continue reading the full article. 


Justin Prugh
(619) 260-7573

Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies


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