Accession Number : AD1017541

Title :   Nuclear Weapons: DOD Assessed the Need for Each Leg of the Strategic Triad and Considered Other Reductions to Nuclear Forces

Descriptive Note : Technical Report

Corporate Author : U.S. Government Accountability Office Washington United States

Personal Author(s) : Kirschbaum,Joseph W

Full Text :

Report Date : 01 Sep 2016

Pagination or Media Count : 15

Abstract : Since the 1960s, the United States has deployed nuclear weapons on three types of strategic delivery vehicles collectively known as the strategic triad. The triad comprises the sea-based leg (submarine-launched ballistic missiles), ground-based leg (intercontinental ballistic missiles), and airborne leg (nuclear-capable heavy bombers). As a result of arms control agreements and strategic policies, the number of U.S. nuclear weapons and strategic delivery vehicles has been reduced substantially; however, the strategic triad has remained intact. DOD and the Department of Energy are planning to invest significant resources to recapitalize and modernize the strategic triad in the coming decades. The departments projected in 2015 that the costs of maintaining U.S. nuclear forces for fiscal years 2016 through 2025 would total $319.8 billion, and DOD expects recapitalization and modernization efforts to extend into the 2030s. GAO was asked to review DODs analysis of the decision to retain all three legs of the strategic triad. This report describes the processes DOD used in supporting that decision. GAO reviewed documentation and interviewed officials from DOD and the military services on the key reviews DOD carried out from 2009 to 2014 including the 2010 Nuclear Posture Reviewin analyzing its strategic force structure

Descriptors :   NUCLEAR WEAPONS , national security , united states government , congress , fleet ballistic missiles , department of defense , intercontinental ballistic missiles , arms control treaties , homeland security , SURVIVABILITY

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE