WASHINGTON: In a fiscal 2012 report to Congress, the Pentagon assessed that even if Russia broke out of the limits imposed by the New START treaty and deployed more nuclear weapons, it could not gain strategic advantage over the United States.
“The Russian Federation, therefore, would not be able to achieve a militarily significant advantage by any plausible expansion of its strategic nuclear forces, even in a cheating or breakout scenario under the New START Treaty,” the report said.
Trump “clearly needs to get a briefing on the capacity of U.S. nuclear forces,” said Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, a leading arms control organization.
The 30-year U.S. modernization program is intended to maintain the American advantage. It upgrades and extends the lives of every U.S. nuclear weapons system – intercontinental ballistic missiles, long-range bombers and submarines – and their warheads.
In addition, the Pentagon has drawn up plans to replace many systems with a new bomber, new ballistic missile submarine, and new missiles.
Many lawmakers and experts are concerned about the price tag of the effort, given the high cost of repairing and modernizing the country's conventional military forces and the budgetary demands of non-military programs.
The costs of the modernization program has been estimated at as much as $1 trillion over the next 30 years.
But a report published this month by the Congressional Budget Office indicated that the overall cost is rising.
Nuclear force plans set out by the Pentagon and the Energy Department – the caretaker of the U.S. nuclear arsenal – in their fiscal 2017 budget requests would cost an estimated $400 billion during only the 10-year period ending in fiscal 2026.