A new ballistic missile submarine is one of the key modernization programs identified by the CBO. (US Navy)
More on the nuclear force:
Cut, stretch and protect: Building the future armed forces (from Armed Forces Journal)
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released a report pegging the cost of America’s 10-year nuclear weapons plan at $355 billion.
The Dec. 20 report estimates the cost of the Obama administration’s plans for the nuclear arsenal from 2014 to 2023.
The CBO projection includes $296 billion budgeted for the nuclear arsenal and associated programs, broken down into $136 billion to go into strategic and tactical nuclear delivery systems; $105 billion to go towards the Department of Energy and naval reactors; and $56 billion towards nuclear command, control and communications systems as well as early-warning technologies.
Another $59 billion is estimated to cover additional costs that could occur due to cost growth.
For fiscal 2014, which began in October, the CBO is estimating $23.1 billion in costs to maintain the nuclear arsenal.
Key modernization programs identified by the CBO include a new ballistic missile submarine, a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), and the Air Force’s Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B). For all three of those delivery platforms, new or refurbished warheads could add to costs.
The CBO notes that its estimates could grow if these programs see cost overruns. Conversely, the estimates could drop if the Obama administration alters nuclear policy, such as increased reductions in the nuclear arsenal, although dramatic savings may be out of the question without a major strategic shift.
“Unless the reduction completely eliminated some portion of those forces (one leg of the triad, for example), the resulting decrease in costs would probably be substantially less than the proportional cut to the size of the forces, because of fixed development and support costs and other constraints,” the CBO report reads.