Magazine article National Defense

DoD Beginning to Tackle Nuclear 'Bow Wave'

Magazine article National Defense

DoD Beginning to Tackle Nuclear 'Bow Wave'

Article excerpt

The fiscal year 2017 budget request is the first to deal with the looming spike in planned nuclear modernization spending in the 2020s, said the Pentagon's director of cost assessment and program evaluation.

"What the [fiscal year] '21 projection in the future years defense plan lays out is really the start of a ramping back up" in nuclear investment, Jamie Morin said during a recent conference hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The budget plan calls for an $11.4 billion increase in the fiscal year 2021 Pentagon topline relative to 2020.

"That was a product of a very serious and deliberate discussions between the leadership of the Department of Defense and the senior staff at the White House all the way up to the president about this upcoming nuclear modernization bow wave," Morin said.

Over the next five years, the Navy plans to spend $13.2 billion on the Ohio replacement ballistic missile submarine, with the first ship procured in fiscal year 2021.

There will be "substantial bills" for the submarine beginning in 2021 and "significant costs" for the Air Force's intercontinental ballistic missile replacement effort and the new stealth bomber, Morin said.

"That bow wave will grow significantly particularly by the time we get to the mid-2020s and the late 2020s," he said. "It's on the order of $12 billion to $18 billion a year above sort of where we were over this last decade, which was a period of very low investment in the nuclear enterprise."

Analysts have estimated that the Defense Department's long-term nuclear modernization plans would cost hundreds of billions of dollars. …

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