For years, US officials have been talking up the importance of a massive rehaul of the American nuclear weapons arsenal, insisting it is necessary despite the substantial expense. Analysts have long warned the estimated costs were underrated.
Every time the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) looks into the matter, they come up with an even higher estimated cost than the last time. The latest report to Congress has put the overall cost at in excess of $1.2 trillion over 30 years.
The CBO was unusually frank about this cost, saying it is “unlikely to be affordable” without military cuts elsewhere. Since the US is fighting multiple wars constantly, cuts in military spending tend not to happen.
Even this $1.2 trillion is likely a best-case scenario for the plan, with other analysts suggesting the figure would be even higher, and with President Trump constantly looking to add more nuclear capabilities, it’s only going to rise.
The CBO offered suggestions on reducing the size of the American nuclear arsenal to save money. The savings are in the 5-10% range, however, and unlikely to be politically palatable for President Trump, who is constantly talking up having the biggest, best nuclear arsenal ever.