Future Defense Spending: Nuclear Modernization
Carnegie Endowment, James Acton | #PRESS
Almost every US nuclear delivery system, missile, and warhead will require some kind of modernization over the next 10 to 20 years. Key elements of the nuclear command-and-control system and nuclear warhead infrastructure will too. In addition, the administration of President Trump decided to begin work on the development of a new high-yield SLBM warhead, the W93, and a new nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile (SLCM) with a low-yield option. It also sought to significantly expand the production of plutonium pits for nuclear weapons at two sites. If this entire set of programs is pursued, the result will be significant increases in expenditure on nuclear forces. Congress should deny funding for a new nuclear-armed SLCM and pause the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent program (which aims to develop a new ICBM) pending a comprehensive review. At least some funds saved by ceasing the development of a new nuclear-armed SLCM and from pausing (and potentially ceasing) the GBSD program should be redirected to nuclear command-and-control modernization.