MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The modernization and maintenance of the US nuclear arsenal are projected to cost Washington $1.2 trillion in the coming 30 years, according to the US Congress Budget Office (CBO) report.
"The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the most recent detailed plans for nuclear forces, which were incorporated in the Obama Administration’s 2017 budget request, would cost $1.2 trillion in 2017 dollars over the 2017–2046 period: more than $800 billion to operate and sustain (that is, incrementally upgrade) nuclear forces and about $400 billion to modernize them," the document published late on Tuesday reads.
Of the total expenses, $772 billion would be allocated for the operation, maintenance and modernization of strategic nuclear delivery systems and weapons, such as long-range aircraft, missiles and submarines that launch nuclear weapons as well as the nuclear weapons they carry, and the nuclear reactors that power the submarines, the document added. The ballistic missile submarines are projected to have the highest level of costs, $313 billion.
An additional $445 billion would be allocated for the operation of laboratories and production facilities supporting the nuclear weapons activities and the command, control, communications, and early-warning systems, that enable the safe and secure operation of nuclear forces, the document reads.
The report pointed out that the United States planned to modernize "virtually every element" of its nuclear force over the coming decades. As a result of this modernization, the annual costs of nuclear forces may raise almost twice. In these "peak periods" the US nuclear forces will have to compete for funding with the country’s other defense priorities.
The US authorities are currently carrying out the so-called Nuclear Posture Review, initiated by President Donald Trump, which aims at determining a nuclear policy and force structure appropriately tailored to deter modern threats.
After the Cold War, the United States has seen a decrease in its weapons arsenal, particularly, due to the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty between Washington and Moscow. Trump, however, has repeatedly vowed to build up the US nuclear arsenal.