Nuclear ‘Modernization’

Background

A Rough Breakdown of the Trillion Dollar Cost of Modernization

1/3 NNSA

The National Nuclear Security Administration is a semi-autonomous agency within the Department of Energy

Warhead Production

 

2/3 Department of Defense

Warhead Delivery Systems

  • Land-Based ICBMs
    • 642 (400 to deploy) new ICBMs 
  • SSBNs: Ballistic Missile Submarines
    • 12 new Columbia Class SSBNs
  • Bombers & Air-Launched Cruise Missiles
    • Upgrades to the B-1, the B-2, and the B-52
    • LRSB: 100 new B-21 strategic bombers
    • LRSO: 1000+ nuclear-capable cruise missiles

 

Warhead Production and 'Life Extension Programs'

Note that the NNSA (National Nuclear Security Administration) runs all weapons related activities under the DOE. Environmental cleanup of wastes from nuclear weapons production is under the jurisdiction of the DOE without NNSA involvement. While the NNSA budget is set to increase, DOE's is set to decrease.

 

Warhead Delivery Systems

  • New ICBMs (aka GBSD, or Ground-Based-Strategic-Deterrent): This is a contested element of the planned triad modernization. William Perry and others have argued that land-based ICBMs are the one way a computer glitch could end up triggering total nuclear war, and should therefore be eliminated in favor of bombers and SSBNs. Boeing, Northrup Grumman, and Lockheed have submitted bids for the roughly $70 billion job.
  • SSBNs are to be designe and built by Electric Boat in Connecticut. Plans call to build 12, at a cost $5 billion apiece, and no-one knows where those funds will come from. There's been talk of a supplemental Sea-Borne Deterrence Fund; but Air Force wants a similar budgetary trick for its nuclear systems.
  • Bombers: Northrup Grumman is prime contractor on the new B-21 as well as the B-2 upgrade. Boeing is contractor for B1 and B52 upgrades.
  • Long-Range Stand-Off cruise missiles: This is the other most contested of the new systems planned, with many experts calling it dangerous and unnecessary. Air Force has issued a call for bids for 1000+ missiles. Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed Martin are expected to submit bids.

Resources

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Quotes

Jay Coghlan Director of Nuclear Watch NM

U.S. Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms

“What few Americans realize is that the U.S. is completely rebuilding the production side of its nuclear weapons complex, with new multi-billion dollar factories expected to operate until ~2075. The aim of the for-profit nuclear weapons establishment is a never-ending cycle of exorbitant Life Extension Programs for existing nuclear weapons. These programs will not only extend their service lives for up to six decades but also endow them with new military capabilities, despite denials at the highest levels of government…”

-Jay Coghlan, Nuclear Watch NM comment on NY Times Article U.S. Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms

Richard Sokolsky

This White House has Caved to the Nuclear Priesthood

“The United States can deter any country from using nuclear weapons against America and its treaty allies with a nuclear force that is far smaller, less destabilizing, and less expensive than the one the Pentagon is planning to build.

This White House has caved to the nuclear priesthood in the bureaucracy. Instead of staying on nuclear autopilot, the next administration needs to fundamentally rethink the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security strategy, the costs of implementing the current strategic force modernization program, and the alternatives that could provide greater stability and less risk of nuclear conflict at a much lower cost.”

-Richard Sokolsky, Gordon Adams, Carnegie Endowment, January 18, 2016

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