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Projected Costs of U.S. Nuclear Forces, 2014 to 2023

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Budget rept.

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In its most recent review of U.S. nuclear policy, the Administration resolved to maintain all three types of systems that can deliver nuclear weapons over long ranges -- submarines that launch ballistic missiles SSBNs, land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles ICBMs, and long-range bombers -- known collectively as the strategic nuclear triad. The Administration also resolved to preserve the ability to deploy U.S. tactical nuclear weapons carried by fighter aircraft overseas in support of allies. Nearly all of those delivery systems and the nuclear weapons they carry are nearing the end of their planned operational lives and will need to be modernized or replaced by new systems over the next two decades. In addition, the Administrations review called for more investment to restore and modernize the national laboratories and the complex of supporting facilities that maintain the nations stockpile of nuclear weapons. The costs of these modernization activities will add significantly to the overall cost of the nations nuclear forces, which also includes the cost of operating and maintaining the current forces. As directed by the Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 Public Law 112-239, the Congressional Budget Office CBO has estimated the costs over the next 10 years of the Administrations plans for operating, maintaining, and modernizing nuclear weapons and the military systems capable of delivering those weapons. However, CBOs estimates should not be used directly to calculate the savings that might be realized if these forces were reduced. Because the nuclear enterprise has large fixed costs for infrastructure and other factors, a partial reduction in the size of any segment of these forces would likely result in savings that were proportionally smaller than the relative reduction in force.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Nuclear Warfare
  • Nuclear Weapons

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