Congressional auditors say official estimates are ignoring key expenses for the U.S. nuclear force, such as costs of overhauling missiles and aircraft.
The Defense and Energy departments indicated that they planned to spend roughly $263.8 billion on the atomic arsenal over the coming decade, but their projections omitted significant items while obscuring “assumptions and limitations,” according to a Tuesday report by the Government Accountability Office.
The investigators singled out the Air Force, in part, for listing planned updates to the intercontinental ballistic missile and strategic bomber fleets as “zero-cost” projects in the covered 10-year period. The service is seeking $914 million in fiscal 2015 for designing a new nuclear-capable aircraft, and is still examining possible options for the future of the ICBM force.
The Defense Department should supply at least “preliminary” estimates of all work to maintain and refurbish the U.S. nuclear deterrent, so that budget planners in Congress are “not left to speculate,” the auditors argued in their assessment. The authors looked at where the nuclear-arms cost projections stood as of last July.
The Pentagon accepted a GAO call — similar to a request put to the Energy Department in December — to provide “a range of potential 10-year budget estimates” for their nuclear-arms initiatives if more exact figures are unavailable.
The report’s authors also asserted that the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration would need more money than it expects for refurbishing cruise- and ballistic-missile warheads through fiscal 2018.
“An NNSA official told us that the agency shifted funding within its budget estimates for these two programs beyond fiscal year 2019 to stay within [White House] guidelines,” the assessment states.
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The Commission on Presidential Debates put out a statement today that gives credence to Donald Trump's claims that he had a bad microphone on Monday night. "Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall," read the statement in its entirety.
"A video of Donald Trump testifying under oath about his provocative rhetoric about Mexicans and other Latinos is set to go public" as soon as today. "Trump gave the testimony in June at a law office in Washington in connection with one of two lawsuits he filed last year after prominent chefs reacted to the controversy over his remarks by pulling out of plans to open restaurants at his new D.C. hotel. D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman said in an order issued Thursday evening that fears the testimony might show up in campaign commercials were no basis to keep the public from seeing the video."
No matter that his recall of foreign leaders leaves something to be desired, Gary Johnson is the choice of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board. The editors argue that Donald Trump couldn't do the job of president, while hitting Hillary Clinton for "her intent to greatly increase federal spending and taxation, and serious questions about honesty and trust." Which leaves them with Johnson. "Every American who casts a vote for him is standing for principles," they write, "and can be proud of that vote. Yes, proud of a candidate in 2016."
"By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump." That's the message from USA Today editors, who are making the first recommendation on a presidential race in the paper's 34-year history. It's not exactly an endorsement; they make clear that the editorial board "does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement." But they state flatly that Donald Trump is, by "unanimous consensus of the editorial board, unfit for the presidency."