Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered what is being described in media reports as top-to-bottom changes in how the nation's nuclear arsenal is managed.
Largely unreported in the coverage of the possible nuclear forces shakeup is that until his appointment as defense secretary, Hagel served on the board of a George Soros-funded group that advocates a nuclear-free world.
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Ploughshares opposes America's development of a missile-defense system and contributes funds to scores of anti-war groups highly critical of U.S. foreign policy and military expansion.
The fund identifies itself as a "publicly supported foundation that funds, organizes and innovates projects to realize a world free from the threat of nuclear weapons."
On Friday, the Associated Press reported Hagel was slated to announce actions to improve nuclear force management, vowing to invest billions of dollars more to fix what that the agency described as a force suffering from leadership lapses, security flaws and sagging morale.
Senior defense officials speaking to the AP said Hagel would propose an amount between $1 billion and $10 billion in additional investments to the nuclear forces, including the replacement of a dated helicopter fleet.
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While the exact nature of the investment is unclear and Hagel's proposed top-to-bottom changes have not yet been specified, the defense secretary's long-time association with the Ploughshares Fund may be cause for concern.
The fund calls itself "the largest grant-making foundation in the U.S. focusing exclusively on peace and security issues."
The Ploughshares Fund has a long history of anti-war advocacy and is a partner of the Marxist-oriented Institute for Policy Studies, which has urged the defunding of the Pentagon and massive decreases in U.S. defense capabilities, including slashing the American nuclear arsenal to 292 deployed weapons.
The Poughshares Fund has also partnered with a who's who of the radical left, including Code Pink, the pro-Palestinian J Street, United for Peace & Justice, the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and the Demos progressive group, where Obama's former green jobs czar, Van Jones, serves on the board.
Since its founding in 1981 by San Francisco philanthropist and activist Sally Lilienthal, Ploughshares says it has awarded hundreds of grants "whose aggregate value exceeded $60 million."
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The fund is in turn financed by a small number of foundations, including Soros' Open Society Institute, the Buffett Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Ploughshares is directed by Joseph Cirincione, who served as an adviser on nuclear issues to Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. Cirincione also served as director of nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress
Occupy, MoveOn, Soros
A primary Ploughshares donor is the Tides Foundation, a money tunnel in which leftist donors provide funds to finance other radical groups. Tides itself is funded by Soros.
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Another grantee of Tides is Adbusters magazine, which is reported to have come up with the Occupy Wall Street idea after Arab Spring protests toppled governments in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia.
Tides funds hundreds of radical groups. Its partners were chief defenders of Hagel's nomination.
Fenton Communications is a far-left public relations firm closely partnered with Tides that routinely crafts the public-relations strategies of Tides grantees, including J Street, MoveOn.org and other prominent far-left causes, organizations and activists, from Soros himself to Health Care for America Now to a litany of anti-war groups.
Discover the Networks documents Ploughshares in 2007 hired Fenton Communications to create and administer something called the "Peace Primary," an online contest in which Ploughshares grantees developed their own "peace platforms" on a wide range of topics such as the Iraq War and the genocide in Darfur.
In January 2013, when Obama first announced his pick of Hagel as defense secretary, the Washington Free Beacon obtained emails showing a group of anti-Israel activists and journalists had been engaged in a coordinated campaign to stifle criticism over Obama's pick of Hagel by attacking the former Republican senator's critics.
Fenton Communications' chief executive officer, David Fenton, participated in the email exchanges along with other progressive activists, the Free Beacon's Adam Kredo reported.
Former Fenton executive Jeremy Ben Ami now directs J Street, which has partnered with Ploughshares.
J Street supports talks with Hamas, is heavily critical of Israeli military actions aimed at curbing terrorism and is staunchly opposed to a military strike against Iran.
Discover the Networks notes Ploughshares donated $25,000 to J Street "to support congressional advocacy and education against the use of a military resolution to the impasse over Iran's nuclear program."
Two months later, J Street produced a Web video and policy campaign urging against military force targeting Iran's nuclear infrastructure.
Opposes U.S. missile defense
Among the groups Ploughshares donates to are the anti-Israel Americans for Peace Now, the Arms Control Association, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Center for Policy Alternatives, the Soros-funded Center for Public Integrity, the radical Citizen Action, Citizens for Environmental Justice, the Coalition for New Priorities and the radical Institute for Policy Studies.
Other grantees include the New America Foundation, the Nonviolent Peaceforce, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, the Nuclear Freeze Foundation, the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign, Peace Action, the Peace Studies Association, Physicians for Human Rights and Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Ploughshares has also funded the Soros-financed Connect US Fund, which urges more U.N. helmets on U.S. troops, as well as the Center for American Progress, which is highly influential in forming White House policy.
Also on the list of Ploughshares grantees is the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which has long petitioned for the U.S. to reduce its nuclear stockpiles. According to Pavel Sudoplatov, a former major general in Soviet intelligence, the work by the magazine editors was for the benefit of the Soviet Union.
Two of the magazine's founding sponsors, Leo Szilard and Robert Oppenheimer, were accused of passing information from the Manhattan Project to the Soviet Union. Both were also key initiators of the Manhattan Project.
Ploughshares funds the International Crisis Group, a small organization that boasts Soros on its board and is a key promoter of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine used to justify the NATO airstrikes in Libya last year.
Massive defense slashes
Another Ploughshares grantee is the Institute for Policy Studies.
The institute works with the Center for American Progress to release an annual "Unified Security Budget," which reportedly has influenced White House military policy. Previous recommendations from the two groups' yearly Unified Security Budgets have been adapted by the Obama administration.
The 2012 budget, reviewed in full by WND, called on Obama to use the U.S. Armed Forces in part to combat "global warming," fight global poverty, remedy "injustice," bolster the United Nations and increase "peacekeeping" forces worldwide.
The budget called for massive, second-term slashes to the military budget. The savings are to be used to invest in "sustainable energy" and in fighting worldwide climate change.
The report makes clear the stated objective of transforming the U.S. Armed Forces to stress conflict resolution and diplomacy.
The report takes issue with the use of forces on the ground in various countries to secure or influence the longer-term strategic position of other nations.
It recommends scaling back all U.S. ground forces by 20 percent and reducing the Navy's surface fleet by 20 percent, including two carriers and carrier combat air wings. It also calls for reducing the Air Force by two combat air wings while cutting standing peacetime overseas deployments in Europe and East Asia by up to 50,000 troops at a time.
The budget's authors strongly argue for the reduction of the U.S. nuclear arsenal to no more than 292 deployed nuclear weapons and the complete elimination of the Trident II nuclear missile. It's a process Obama already initiated in April 2010 when he signed a deal with Russia reducing stocks of weapons-grade plutonium.
The accord with Russia was signed at a nuclear summit in Washington arranged by Obama at which leaders of 47 nations committed to reducing the world's nuclear stockpiles. One week earlier, Russia President Dmitry Medvedev and Obama signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, committing both countries to reducing their deployed nuclear arsenals.
Obama had broadly proclaimed his disarmament intentions during a 2007 campaign speech.
"Here's what I'll say as president: America seeks a world in which there are no nuclear weapons," he said.
By 2010, as president, he was arguing: "We need to change our nuclear policy and our posture, which is still focused on deterring the Soviet Union – a country that doesn't exist."
Obama's declaration came just as Russia was signing a major arms deal with Syria and began to revive its Cold War-era naval bases in the Middle East, including in the Syrian ports of Tartus and Latakia on the Mediterranean.
The joint CAP and IPS report, meanwhile, recommends the U.S. cease all further development of missile defenses.
The report goes through a list of current missile defense programs, including Ground-based Midcourse Defense, Airborne Laser, Kinetic Energy Interceptors and a number of others, pushing for all programs to be cut.
"It is unwise to fund more advanced systems for missile defense while current ones have yet to be proven effective against their targeted threats," complains the report.
The military's vital Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation program is to be cut by $10 billion across the board.
Next on the chopping block is the complete cancellation of the second SSN-744 Virginia Class submarine. While the Unified Security Budget describes the new model as "unnecessary to address any of the threats facing the United States today" and "a weapon looking for an enemy," the SSN-774 is designed for covert collection of intelligence, transportation of special operations teams and launching of tactical Tomahawk missiles – flexible capabilities tailored to rapid responses required by the 21st-century's conflicts with irregular combatants.
Similarly targeted for cancellation are the V-22 Osprey helicopter and the Navy and Marine Corps versions of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Combating 'global warming'
The 2012 Unified report sets the tone of its lofty agenda by demanding immediate reductions in the military's already heavily slashed budget. But there is one exception requiring massive increases in funding – any spending that funds "alternative energy" or that focuses Defense Department resources on combating "climate change as a security threat."
The report authors recommend investing "the lion's share" of the few allotted military increases in addressing the "threat" of so-called climate change.
The report wants Obama to take billions of dollars from the U.S. military and instead use them for a "green stimulus."
These groups also envision the military as a tool to fight so-called global warming. In 2011, the IPS released a 40-page CAP-endorsed report titled "The Green Dividend," a term the IPS defines as "a major shift of resources from the military budget to sustainable energy."
The IPS research paper identifies the Pentagon as the "largest institutional energy user and greenhouse gas emitter on the planet," arguing that if it undertook a "crash program" to convert to renewable energy sources and clean vehicles, it could make a significant impact on global emissions.
IPS calls on the Pentagon to contribute to a green world "by simply getting out of the way, by handing over unneeded military installations to be converted into green job incubators."
The report lauds Obama's first-ever U.S. Global Development Policy, issued in September 2010, which declares that the primary purpose of U.S. development aid is to pursue broad-based economic growth as the means to fight global poverty.
The report goes on to recommend that massive funds be sent to combat global woes, including an increase of $3.5 billion to "Global Health" investment and $2.14 billion to support United Nations peacekeeping and ensure that the U.S. does not fall behind in U.N. payments.