WASHINGTON - The Obama administration's plans for the US nuclear weapons complex, including modernization of bombs, delivery systems and laboratories, will cost the country about $355 billion over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office said on Friday.
That is nearly $150 billion more than administration's $208.5 billion estimate in a report to Congress last year, an analyst at an arms control group said, and since the modernization effort is just beginning, costs are expected to greatly increase after 2023.
The budget office said President Barack Obama had requested $23.1 billion for US nuclear forces in the 2014 fiscal year, including $18 billion to maintain the weapons and supporting laboratories as well as the submarines, bombers and missiles to deliver the weapons.
In the decade to 2013, the administration's plans to modernize and maintain submarines, bombers and missiles will cost about $136 billion, the CBO said in a 25-page report.
Weapons labs, weapons and naval reactors will cost $105 billion, and the United States will spend another $56 billion on command and control systems. Adding expected cost growth of $59 billion raises the total to $355 billion over a decade.
The estimates come as the United States is at the start of what Air Force General Robert Kehler, the head of US Strategic Command, has called a "multi-decade effort to recapitalize our nuclear deterrent force and its supporting infrastructure."