Monday, March 21, 2016

Carter Open to DoD-wide Nuclear Weapons Fund

For the first time, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has shown public support for the idea of a national nuclear modernization fund, one which would cover all three legs of the nuclear triad.
Appearing Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carter said that a nuclear deterrent fund “may make sense.”
“I am agreeing with you that I think that a broader nuclear deterrent fund may be appropriate,” Carter added to a question from Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., when pressed on whether a Navy-only fund to support the Ohio class submarine replacement makes sense.
The Pentagon faces a major nuclear modernization bill in the mid-2020s, with the core of the nuclear deterrent — the SSBN(X) program to replace the Ohio-class nuclear submarines, the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) replacement for the aging Minuteman III ICBMs, the B-21 bomber and the Long Range Stand-Off (LRSO) cruise missile — all needing to be funded during that time period.
Brian McKeon, principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy, said in February testimony that he expects the next ten years of nuclear weapon spending to come to $350-$450 billion. A think tank estimate from 2015 has put that total at over $700 billion for the next 25 years. more