Modernisation to Nuclear Force

Modernisation to Nuclear Force June 28, 2019

“When asked whether we still require all three of these legs of the triad, I answer, ‘we do’,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein offered a comprehensive rationale June 26 for modernizing the nation’s three-legged nuclear capability said in remarks at a Mitchell Institute breakfast on Capitol Hill attended by influential members of Congress and staff as well as defence analysts, industry officials and media. “And this position has been backed up by every president and Congress since the nuclear umbrella was created,” he said. The United States remains the world’s most potent nuclear force, Goldfein said. Goldfein mentioned that especially Russia and China have taken action to modernize and diversify their nuclear capacities, and that the pits have lost their effectiveness over time, which were the basis of the nuclear warheads produced in 1980, and that the infrastructure at the serving bases has become obsolete.

Accomplishing the goal, however, will not be easy or inexpensive, Goldfein conceded. The Congressional Budget Office, which is an independent authority on fiscal questions for Congress, estimated in a January analysis that it would cost $494 billion between 2019 and 2028 for the Department of Defence and the Department of Energy to meet all nation’s nuclear defence requirements. Measured another way, at the height of the nuclear modernization effort, it will cost about 6% of the Department of Defence’s budget to operate and modernize the triad.

Issue 78