To pay for expanding the U.S.-Mexican border wall, the Defense Department is moving funds from nuclear weapon projects, once called the Pentagon’s top priority.
The Trump administration has requested nearly $100 million in fiscal year 2020 to develop three new missile systems that would exceed the range limits of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a pact the United States is preparing to exit in August.
New delivery vehicles and warheads are featured in fiscal year 2020 budget request.
The estimated cost of sustaining and modernizing U.S. nuclear weapons over the next 10 years has
increased 23 percent.
The spending is part of the fiscal year 2018 omnibus appropriations law.
Nuclear spending may threaten funding needed for non-nuclear defense programs.
Analysis of budget figures released by the Pentagon suggest that the total 30-year cost could approach and perhaps even exceed $1.5 trillion when including the effects of inflation. This is 50 percent more than the commonly cited estimate of roughly $1 trillion.
The House and Senate Armed Services Committee are currently considering defense authorization legislation that if passed into law would deal a major, if not mortal, blow to longstanding, bipartisan arms control efforts.
Nine Democratic senators are seeking to limit development funding for a nuclear-armed, air-launched cruise missile known as the long-range standoff (LRSO) weapon.