Nuclear weapon plans to cost US $355b.

Nuclear weapon plans to cost US $355b.
Sat Dec 21, 2013 08:11:00

The United States Congressional Budget Office has said Obama administration's plans for the US nuclear weapons complex, including modernization of bombs, delivery systems and laboratories, will cost the country about $355 billion over the next decade.

That is nearly $150 billion more than its $208.5 billion estimate in a report to Congress last year, an analyst at an arms control group said, and since the modernization effort is just beginning, costs are expected to greatly increase after 2023, according to a Friday report.

The budget office said President Barack Obama had requested $23.1 billion for US nuclear forces in the 2014 fiscal year, including $18 billion to maintain the weapons and supporting laboratories as well as the submarines, bombers and missiles to deliver the weapons.

In the decade to 2013, the administration's plans to modernize and maintain submarines, bombers and missiles will cost about $136 billion, the CBO said in a 25-page report.

Weapons labs, weapons and naval reactors will cost $105 billion, and the United States will spend another $56 billion on command and control systems. Adding expected cost growth of $59 billion raises the total to $355 billion over a decade.

The estimates come as the United States is at the start of what Air Force General Robert Kehler, the head of US Strategic Command, has called a "multi-decade effort to recapitalize our nuclear deterrent force and its supporting infrastructure."

In addition to modernizing 1970s-era weapons, in some case replacing 1960s-model vacuum tubes with current-day electronics, the Pentagon will soon need to replace much of the triad of delivery systems, including a new class of ballistic missile submarines and a new type of long-range bomber.

Obama, who favors allegedly eliminating atomic weapons, has endorsed the nuclear modernization effort, saying it is needed to boost the security of the arms and to give US military and political leaders the confidence they need to negotiate further reductions in the nuclear arsenal.

The New START treaty that Obama negotiated with Russia committed the former Cold War rivals to reducing deployed strategic nuclear weapons to 1,550 per side by 2018.

With the US government facing tight budgets as it attempts to reduce the massive federal deficit, arms control groups and some think tanks question the wisdom of spending hundreds of billions on weapons that are unlikely to be used.


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