$1.2t nuke budget

MODERNISING and maintaining the US nuclear arsenal over the next 30 years will cost more than $1.2 trillion, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office.

The report said plans for the modernisation of the aging planes, ships and missile silos that make up the US nuclear arsenal would cost 50 per cent more than if the US only operated and maintained its current equipment in the field.

The CBO study reviewed the Obama’s Administration’s plans for modernisation of the nuclear arsenal.

President Donald Trump in January directed Secretary of Defense James Mattis to conduct his own review the US nuclear forces.

The results could be published in the coming months.

US House Armed Services Committee member Adam Smith, a Democrat from Washington, said of the Obama-era plan: “Congress still doesn’t seem to have any answers as to how we will pay for this effort, or what the trade-offs with other national security efforts will be.”

The report said costs would rise from $29 billion in 2017 to $47 billion in 2027, before peaking about $50 billion a year through the early 2030s.

Mr Trump has said he wants to ensure the US nuclear arsenal is at the “top of the pack”, saying the US has fallen behind in its weapons capacity.

US officials have noted that America’s nuclear modernisation is lagging behind Russia’s upgrade of its own nuclear triad.

General Paul Selva, vice-chairperson of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress in August he believed Moscow was already two-thirds of the way through its nuclear modernisation process.

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