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Could USA go broke, due to its $1 trillion nuclear weapons arsenal?

missile-moneyU.S. Nuclear-Weapons Plan Is So Expensive, It Can’t Be Implemented,National Journal  by  January 8, 2014  A new study says the strategy to update the U.S. triad of nuclear-armed aircraft, submarines and missiles would cost $1 trillion over the next 30 years, even under conservative assumptions

U.S. plan for modernizing the nation’s nuclear arsenal is so expensive that it cannot be implemented, the authors of a new study contend.

“It’s just not real,” Jeffrey Lewis, one of the report’s co-authors, said in reference to the current U.S. modernization blueprint. “It’s inconceivable to me that we will execute anything like the plan that they say they’re going to do.” The analysis, released on Tuesday by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, says the strategy to update the U.S. triad of nuclear-armed bomber aircraft, submarines and ground-based missiles would cost $1 trillion over the next 30 years, even under conservative assumptions.

The estimate relies largely on official government figures, the authors say, and does not include costs associated missile defense, nonproliferation efforts and related intelligence programs

 Instead, it includes only the cost of maintaining the current U.S. nuclear arsenal, buying replacement systems and upgrading bombs and warheads, as called for by the current plan. Major cost drivers of the $1 trillion plan include a new Long-Range Strike bomber, which the report projects will cost $55-100 billion, and Ohio-class replacement submarines, which the study says could cost $77-102 billion.

Among the more controversial items on the modernization agenda are plans to upgrade B-61 gravity bombs stationed in Europe, create a new Long-Range Standoff Cruise missile, and develop a series of new, interoperable warheads capable of replacing multiple weapons now in the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Given current budget constraints, implementing all of these plans simultaneously is so unrealistic that attempting it would likely backfire and cause major projects to be canceled midstream, said Lewis, speaking during the study’s Tuesday public roll-out……

The report’s sole recommendation is that Congress require the White House Office of Management and Budget — along with the Energy and Defense departments — “to annually produce an integrated nuclear deterrence budget” that projects the full cost of each system in the U.S. nuclear arsenal over its operational lifetime.

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office has issued findings that support the idea that Congress and the executive branch do not fully understand the lifetime costs of the current modernization plan, according to the CNS report.

A 2005 GAO assessment demonstrated that “the United States does not know with any accuracy how much it spends annually on its nuclear deterrent, or how much it will cost to replace the current triad,” the CNS report notes.

“The longest-range estimates for the nuclear mission produced by the administration were in 2010 and contained about $214 billion in spending over the fiscal 2011-20 period, but the report omitted significant costs, and the estimate period ends just before the substantial procurement bills come due,” the new study contends……..http://www.nationaljournal.com/defense/u-s-nuclear-weapons-plan-is-so-expensive-it-can-t-be-implemented-20140108

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January 9, 2014 - Posted by | business and costs, weapons and war

1 Comment »

  1. […] Could USA go broke, due to its $1 trillion nuclear weapons arsenal? (nuclear-news.net) […]

    Pingback by Is That a Thermonuclear Device in Your Pocket, Or Are You Just Happy To See Me? | pundit from another planet | January 9, 2014 | Reply


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