WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States has invested billions to upgrade its nuclear program because its current stockpile has aged considerably and is losing operational effectiveness, a nuclear watchdog group told Sputnik.
“The biggest cost driver is that the current US nuclear arsenal is aging and nearing the end of its useful service life,” Arms Control Association Director of Disarmament and Threat Reduction Kingston Reif told Sputnik on Monday.
The US government’s 25-year plan to upgrade its nuclear arsenal is now estimated to cost $293 billion, an increase of nearly $18 billion on the 2014 estimate, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report last week.
Reif’s comments come a day after the world commemorated the 70th anniversary of the US nuclear bombing of the Japanese city of Nagasaki during World War II.
However, he argued, US spending plans to modernize its nuclear forces are ultimately unsustainable and unnecessary because the size of the arsenal is beyond reason.
Even President Barack Obama and the Pentagon have acknowledged that the current number of nuclear weapons is more than the United States needs for deterrence purposes, Reif noted.
“The White House, Pentagon and Energy Department should examine common sense options for reshaping the current plans in ways that would save billions,” Reif recommended.
The United States has launched an enormous quarter century program to completely upgrade or replace the entire US strategic nuclear weapons stockpile and their delivery systems.