report said current plans for the modernization of the aging
planes, ships and missile silos that make up the U.S. nuclear
arsenal would cost 50 percent more than if the U.S. only
operated and maintained its current equipment in the field.
The CBO study reviewed the Obama's Administration's plans for
modernization of the nuclear arsenal. President Donald Trump in
January directed Secretary of Defense James Mattis to conduct
his own review the U.S. nuclear forces. The results could be
published in the coming months.
U.S. House Armed Services Committee member Adam Smith, a
Democrat from Washington, said of the Obama-era plan: "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."
The report said costs would rise from $29 billion in 2017 to $47
billion in 2027, before peaking at around $50 billion a year
through the early 2030s.
Trump has said he wants to ensure the U.S. nuclear arsenal is at
the "top of the pack," saying the United States has fallen
behind in its weapons capacity.
U.S. officials have noted that America's nuclear modernization
is lagging behind Russia's upgrade of its own nuclear triad.
General Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
told Congress in August he believed Moscow was already
two-thirds of the way through its nuclear modernization process.
In August, the U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing Co and Northrop
Grumman Corp separate contracts to continue development work on
the replacement of the aging Minuteman III intercontinental
ballistic missile system one leg of the nuclear triad.
Days later the Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin Corp and
Raytheon Co separate $900 million contracts to continue work on
a replacement for the AGM-86B air-launched nuclear cruise
missile. That detailed development contract allows the companies
to continue work on the long range standoff weapon yet another
leg of the triad.
(Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington, additional reporting by
Idrees Ali; editing by Chris Sanders)
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