October 29, 2013
By David Alexander
WASHINGTON, Oct 29 (Reuters) – The U.S. nuclear arsenal needs a multi-billion dollar overhaul in the coming decade to ensure the weapons’ safety and effectiveness, defense officials said on Tuesday, despite warnings from arms control groups that the effort is unaffordable and unnecessary.
Assistant Defense Secretary Madelyn Creedon told a panel in the U.S. House of Representatives that modernization work on the aging weapons was needed to give policymakers the confidence they need to pursue President Barack Obama’s goal of deeper cuts to the nuclear stockpile.
“Modernization work of this kind is expensive, but there is no doubt that the investment … is necessary,” Creedon told lawmakers examining a program to reduce the number of warhead types for U.S. nuclear bombs and to put guidance systems on the weapons.
“There is not a cost-effective alternative that meets the military requirements and policy objectives,” she said, adding that the B61 gravity bomb, which is deployed in Europe, is a “cornerstone” of the U.S. nuclear deterrence commitment to NATO.
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