U.S. Nuclear Weapons Modernization
U.S. nuclear forces, operated by the Air Force and Navy, have entered a years-long period that will see the modernization of warheads, bombs, and delivery systems.
Many of these land-, air-, and sea-based systems, which constitute the so-called nuclear triad, entered service during the Cold War and will reach the end of their life cycles in the coming decades.
The ballistic missiles, submarines, bombers, fighters, and air-launched cruise missiles in operation today will be gradually phased out for newer systems. The United States will also develop new nuclear warheads and upgrade facilities that produce and maintain nuclear weapons.
However, while some modernization efforts are already underway, debate persists in Washington over their direction and extent, especially given the massive investments they will require. The Congressional Budget Office estimates [PDF] that maintaining and modernizing U.S. nuclear forces will cost $400 billion between 2017 and 2026.
The triad emerged and evolved, more by accident than design, over the four decades of the Cold War as the United States and Soviet Union responded to each other’s advances. Read More
Related news: US to loosen nuclear weapons constraints and develop more ‘usable’ warheads. Read More