CBO Report: U.S. Nuclear Arsenal Cost Spikes 72 Percent Over Next Decade

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Dec. 23, 2013, 6:02 a.m.

Cur­rent U.S. plans for main­tain­ing and mod­ern­iz­ing the nuc­le­ar ar­sen­al are pro­jec­ted to cost tax­pay­ers roughly $355 bil­lion in the next 10 years, Re­u­ters re­ports.

That fig­ure — pro­duced by the non­par­tis­an Con­gres­sion­al Budget Of­fice in a Fri­day re­port — con­sti­tutes a 72 per­cent cost spike, by some es­tim­ates. The new price tag is nearly $150 bil­lion more than the $208.5 bil­lion es­tim­ate the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion provided to Con­gress in a 2012 re­port, ac­cord­ing to one arms-con­trol ad­vocacy or­gan­iz­a­tion.

The United States is still in the plan­ning stages for much of its pro­gram to re­place re­tir­ing nuc­le­ar-de­liv­ery vehicles, build new fis­sile-ma­ter­i­al labor­at­or­ies and over­haul aging war­heads. Ex­pect­a­tions are that nuc­le­ar-ar­sen­al spend­ing will sub­stan­tially ramp-up after 2023.

Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion mod­ern­iz­a­tion plans for stra­tegic and non­stra­tegic weapon de­liv­ery sys­tems in­clude new long-range bombers and bal­list­ic mis­sile-sub­mar­ines, which are pro­jec­ted to total ap­prox­im­ately $136 bil­lion through 2023, ac­cord­ing to the 25-page CBO ana­lys­is.

En­ergy De­part­ment plans for ret­ro­fit­ting war­heads, build­ing new nav­al re­act­ors and con­struct­ing new fis­sile-ma­ter­i­al labor­at­or­ies are es­tim­ated to cost $105 bil­lion. An ad­di­tion­al $56 bil­lion could be spent on com­mand-and-con­trol tech­no­logy. The CBO re­port also ac­counts for $59 bil­lion in an­ti­cip­ated cost growth.

“The im­pend­ing nuc­le­ar-mod­ern­iz­a­tion tid­al wave will force in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult trade-offs between nuc­le­ar and con­ven­tion­al cap­ab­il­it­ies,” King­ston Re­if, nuc­le­ar non­pro­lif­er­a­tion dir­ect­or at the Cen­ter for Arms Con­trol and Non­pro­lif­er­a­tion, pro­jec­ted.

This art­icle was pub­lished in Glob­al Se­cur­ity News­wire, which is pro­duced in­de­pend­ently by Na­tion­al Journ­al Group un­der con­tract with the Nuc­le­ar Threat Ini­ti­at­ive. NTI is a non­profit, non­par­tis­an group work­ing to re­duce glob­al threats from nuc­le­ar, bio­lo­gic­al, and chem­ic­al weapons.

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