A new report by the U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that the current plan to sustain and modernize US nuclear forces will cost $1.2 trillion over the next 30 years – or $41.4 billion per year.
A study by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in 2014 projected the cost would be “over $1 trillion” over 30 years.
CBO projected in February 2017 that US nuclear forces will cost $400 billion over the 10-year period 2017 to 2026, or $40 billion per year. The projection was a 15% increase over the $345 billion estimate from January 2015 for the period 2015 to 2024.
Although the cost of US nuclear forces is limited compared with the size total defense budget, the cost will increase significantly in the next decade and compete with other non-nuclear defense priorities that also need funding. As a result, the current nuclear modernization plan is unsustainable.
The CBO report therefore presents nine options for changing the nuclear force structure and timing that the Trump administration and Congress could consider for reducing the cost of nuclear forces.