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Report to Congress on Cost of U.S. Nuclear Forces

The following is the Jan. 24, 2019 Congressional Budget Office report, the Projected Costs U.S. Nuclear Forces, 2019 to 2028.

From the report

The Congressional Budget Office is required by law to project the 10-year costs of nuclear forces every two years. This report contains CBO’s projections for the period from 2019 to 2028.

  • If carried out, the plans for nuclear forces delineated in the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) and the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) fiscal year 2019 budget requests would cost a total of $494 billion over the 2019–2028 period, for an average of just under $50 billion a year, CBO estimates.
  • The current 10-year total is 23 percent higher than CBO’s 2017 estimate of the 10-year costs of nuclear forces, $400 billion over the 2017–2026 period.
  • About $51 billion (or 55 percent) of the $94 billion increase in that total arises because the 10-year period covered by the current estimate begins and ends two years later than the period covered by the 2017 estimate. Thus, the period now includes two later (and more expensive) years of development in nuclear modernization programs. Also, costs in those two later years reflect 10 years of economywide inflation relative to the two years that drop out of the previous 10-year projection; that factor (in the absence of any changes to programs) accounts for about one-fourth of the $51 billion increase.
  • About $37 billion (or 39 percent) of the $94 billion increase is projected to occur from 2019 to 2026—the eight years included in both this estimate and the 2017 estimate. That increase stems mainly from new modernization programs and weapons and more concrete plans for nuclear command-and-control systems.

Download the document here.

  • NavySubNuke

    A small price to pay for the ultimate guarantee of American security and the most important pillar of our non-proliferation efforts.
    Nations like Japan, South Korea, Poland, and Australia could easily become nuclear power but don’t because of the US nuclear umbrella.
    We have put off modernization as long as we possibly can and the bill has now come due. Time to actually do the right thing for our children and make sure we have the nuclear forces we need for the next 25+ years.

    • DaSaint

      Agreed. I’ve heard that Japan and South Korea are beginning to consider developing their own nuclear weapons, but I see that as unlikely, at least in the near future.

      • NavySubNuke

        I can’t post links but yes, there are a lot of examples from semi-official sources related to that. Both were really pissed off when we got rid of TLAM-N.

      • Duane

        The ROK and Japan cannot afford to build a nuke weapons program from scratch. The investment would be staggering. That is not to say neither will ever go that route, but they are both hard pressed now to develop conventional forces sufficient to deter China and North Korea. If we ever told them they are on their own, no longer enjoying our nuclear umbrella, they would have no choice but to develop their own.

        I don’t see that happening, even if that is something Trump is perfectly capable of doing, Congress would not allow that.

        • USNVO

          If South Africa could develop and deploy nuclear weapons in the 1980s, Japan and South Korea could do it today without a problem. Whether they ever have the need or will to do so is another question, but they have the technical ability to do it and could easily afford it.

    • Ser Arthur Dayne

      Hear, hear. Give this man a drink immediately.

    • Falconer375

      I suspect the costs for such forces would be prohibitively expensive even for a wealthy country like some of those on your list. Japan, well they have a fundamental objection to such arms since they are the only country in the world to have been on the receiving end of them. Australia made some attempts at acquiring but when requests for technology sharing were made towards the Macmillan government in the UK and the Eisenhower administration in the USA they were politely told no even though in the case of the UK Australia had allowed its territory to be used for testing of such weapons.

      • NavySubNuke

        Pakistan, India, North Korea, and Iran soon enough – you think that they are all that much richer than ROK, Japan, Poland or Australia?
        The money Australia is spending on their new submarines is more then enough for a limited nuclear program.
        Japan is the closest given their huge stockpile of weapons grade material thanks to their civilian power program.

        • Falconer375

          Pakistan, India and North Korea are countries/societies where the ruling class do not provide or wish to provide the same level of public services like are afforded to the citizens in Australia, Korea, Japan, the military services also have a much bigger role in the supposed democracies of India and Pakistan.
          As for the development of the Attack Class of submarine (class not type) in Australia, to instead develop nuclear weapons means you forego all the potential different missions that those platforms could undertake, whether that be keeping shipping lanes open or alternatively denying access. Electronic surveillance missions, protection of surface assets like the Canberra Class if they are sent far from home. Bottom line in Australia’s case the opportunity cost is too great. Australia has large stockpiles of Uranium yes but essentially zero capacity to do anything with it as you suggest, even energy generation.
          And again the Japanese are the only country to ever be on the receiving end of a nuclear weapon the population would not tolerate the government suggesting nuclear arms development, there is even still debate as to if placing the jump jet version of the F-35 on their large deck amphibious vessels is desirable.

          • NavySubNuke

            Yes it all comes down to a question of political will. You do realize India is a democracy right?

  • Mark Maxwell

    To my mind even though Australia is one of the largest exporters of uranium.
    Nuclear weapons and technology outside the medical research field are not really necessary in Australia.
    With current submarine and ship designs.
    Conventional state of the art technology is more than adequate.
    As for power generation for a population of 25 million also not needed.
    But self defence based missle systems that have and will be developed are a must 😉

  • Ed L

    Never been a big fan. At times I wish the geni could be put back in the bottle. Then again if it did happen many of us might not be here