US nuclear arsenal to cost $1.2 trillion over next 30 years: Report

November 1, 2017 10:00 pm

This still image from video obtained from SpaceX shows a Falcon 9 rocket lifting off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on January 14, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Modernizing and maintaining the nuclear arsenal over the next 30 years will cost over $1.2 trillion, a 25 percent increase from previous estimates, according to a report by the government.
The annual cost of modernizing the arsenal would rise from $29 billion in 2017 to $47 billion in 2027, before peaking at around $50 billion a year in 2030, the Congressional Budget Office said on Tuesday.
Congressman Adam Smith, a member of the Armed Services Committee in the US House of Representatives, said, “Congress still doesn’t seem to have any answers as to how we will pay for this effort, or what the trade-offs with other national security efforts will be.”
US President Donald Trump has said he wants to ensure the US nuclear arsenal is at the “top of the pack,” saying the American has fallen behind in its weapons capacity.
Trump in January directed US Defense Secretary James Mattis to conduct his own review of the US nuclear forces. The results could be published in the coming months.
The Trump administration is working on a new nuclear weapons policy that would end the post-Cold War disarmament and allow Washington to expand its arsenal, new reports suggest.
Trump and his top national security advisers discussed the matter in September at the White House, where the first draft of the new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) was presented, The Guardian reported Sunday.
Among the elements being considered under the expansion plan are new low yield warheads for ballistic missiles as well as sea-launched cruise missiles.
The CBO report warns that Trump’s proposal would increase the total bill for the US arsenal yet further.
“Pursuing nuclear modernization will be challenging in the current environment,” the report said, adding that it would compete with parallel ambitions to upgrade the Navy and the Air Force, and increase the size of the Army.
This is while any growth in America’s nuclear weapons stockpile amounts to a breach of international disarmament treaties signed by every US president since Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.
The administration of former US President Barack Obama laid out plans for renovating the country’s nuclear weapon arsenal, a reversal from his 2009 Prague speech that laid out his agenda for further nuclear disarmament.
The US currently has an arsenal of about 7,000 nuclear warheads, second only to Russia, which has a few hundred more.
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