Since returning from paternity leave I’ve penned two new pieces on the issue of the costs of nuclear weapons. The first, published in RealClearDefense, assesses the conclusions of the recently released report of the National Defense Panel Review of the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review on the costs of nuclear weapons. Here’s how I end the piece:
The NDP [National Defense Panel] recognizes that current resources don’t match requirements. The longer current nuclear spending plans remain on autopilot, the more likely it will be that the budget will force suboptimal tradeoffs between nuclear and other national security programs, as well as possible reductions in nuclear forces by financial default. Fortunately, the United States can guarantee its security and that of its allies in a more fiscally sustainable manner by continuing to pursue further reductions in U.S. nuclear forces and scaling back current modernization plans.
Read the whole thing here.
The second piece rebuts the oft-repeated claim by some Air Force nuclear leaders that the cost of the Air Force nuclear enterprise is relatively cheap. Here’s an excerpt:
While the current costs of the Air Force legs of the triad may be cheaper than some other Pentagon programs, these aren’t the only costs. For example, Harencak’s one-year tally ignores the large financial and opportunity costs of current plans to modernize and recapitalize all elements of the Air Force nuclear enterprise, the bulk of which have yet to (but will soon) hit the balance sheets. While the Air Force has been less than transparent about the extent of the bill, it has already acknowledged these costs will be substantial. So substantial, in fact, that the service leadership is looking for assistance from elsewhere in the Pentagon to help pick up the tab.
The entire piece is available here.