This June 16 will mark the one-year anniversary of the death of Daniel Ellsberg, the renowned scholar, whistle-blower and activist whose revelations about the Vietnam War with the Pentagon Papers sparked a national crisis of conscience in the 70’s.

He is not commonly associated with Livermore, but it is right here (outside of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) that he was arrested numerous times speaking out about the issue that was most important to him in his later decades, nuclear disarmament.

Ellsberg helped create some of the nuclear war plans that the U.S. still uses today while working for RAND Corporation. He left the world with a warning about the dangers of nuclear weapons, and above all, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), which are the nuclear missiles we house in underground silos spread across states in the middle of the country.

Billions are being spent to replace all the U.S. ICBMs with new silos, missiles and warheads (the W87-1 being developed at Livermore Lab). Recently it was announced that the missile is nearly 40% over budget! It’s past time to heed Ellsberg’s warning:

“For over half a century, the existence on both sides of vulnerable land-based ICBMs has been the hair trigger to the Doomsday Machine. They pose a use-it-or-lose-it mentality which encourages each side to launch its missiles on ambiguous warning, lest they be destroyed—in order to attack the ICBMs of the other side.”

Ellsberg may have been talking about issues of global significance, but each and every person around the world lives with the constant threat of suffering and death as long as these weapons exist. In fact, nuclear weapons are sold to cities and states as a job-creating boon to local communities, when research shows that investing in essential areas such as healthcare, education, and green energy will also create many more, better jobs.

We can’t afford to pour tens of billions of dollars more into weapons that threaten the society we have built. To honor Daniel Ellsberg and future generations, let’s ditch the ICBM and the W87-1 warhead.