Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 21, 2014

Ten-Year, $264 Billion Nuclear Weapons Spending Estimate Leaves Out Some Things

Over the next decade, maintaining and modernizing nuclear weapon capabilities will cost $263.8 billion, according to a joint estimate by the departments of Defense and Energy. But a new report suggests that figure might fall far short of what the United States will actually spend.

The Government Accountability Office noted that the estimate doesn’t include the Air Force’s plans to develop a new bomber, or modernize intercontinental ballistic missiles.

“Consequently, DOD may be significantly underreporting its 10-year estimate, depending on the magnitude of the costs resulting from upcoming decisions about how to modernize these delivery systems,” a GAO report released Tuesday concluded.

“Air Force officials told us that it would be premature to include potential budget estimates for development programs in their early stages because their long-term costs are uncertain,” the report states, and added that the Air Force considered a specific bomber estimate too sensitive to include in the joint report with the DOE, produced annually for Congress.

But the GAO said the Pentagon should’ve supplied at least a range of possible estimates for the new bomber and ICBM modernization, rather than an assumption of no cost at all: “Without a range of potential estimates and fully documented assumptions and limitations, the report is an incomplete tool for congressional oversight.”

The “fully documented assumptions” part is a criticism of how DOD came up with its $40.8 billion estimate for nuclear command, control and communications, or NC3; the report states that the department didn’t do a good job of explaining how it arrived at the figure.

On the DOE side, the estimate doesn’t include enough funding for planned nuclear weapon life extensions and construction of key facilities, the GAO determined.

“To improve the completeness and transparency of subsequent joint reports, GAO recommends that the Secretary of Defense direct DOD components to (1) include at least a range of potential 10-year budget estimates for projects and programs, based on preliminary cost information (this is consistent with a December 2013 recommendation GAO made to DOE); and (2) document assumptions and limitations affecting its NC3 funding estimates,” the report stats. “DOD agreed with these recommendations.”

  • Wise words …

    Since force is the only way to prevent coercion, free countries award the coercion monopoly to the government and then work to restrain it.

  • Yonatan YONATAN

    WHAT ABOUT THE 3 MILLION UNEMPLOYED AMERICANS WHO HAVE BEEN WITHOUT AN UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSION SINCE LATE LAST DECEMBER? THESE FAMILIES, MANY OF WHOM, HAVE FACED FINANCIAL RUIN, OVER THE PASSED SIX MONTHS DUE TO THE INABILITY OF THE TWO POLITICAL PARTIES TO ACT EFFECTIVELY ON THEIR BEHALF. WHEN BILLIONS OF TAX PAYER DOLLARS HAS BEEN APPROVED FOR THE UKRAINE, THE REPUBLICANS ARE STILL UNCERTAIN WHETHER WE CAN AFFORD TO HELP THESE UNEMPLOYED AMERICAN FAMILIES. HOW CAN THIS BE EVEN POSSIBLE TO BE HAPPENING? IS IT MORE COST EFFECTIVE TO HAVE THESE MILLIONS OF FAMILIES NEEDING TO GO ON PUBLIC ASSISTANCE AND FOOD STAMPS IN ORDER TO SUPPORT THEIR FAMILIES INSTEAD? THE REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATS HAVE BOTH FAILED THESE THREE MILLION FAMILIES MISERABLY. MAYBE THEY JUST DON’T CARE ANYMORE. MAYBE THEY’RE MORE CONCERN WITH THEIR OWN PARTY AGENDA AND PERSONAL ENRICHMENT. THE NEXT ELECTION PROMISES TO BE A TIME FOR TOTAL CHANGE IN THE POLITICAL ARENA. MANY OF THESE POLITICIANS WILL NOT BE IN OFFICE. THE PEOPLE WILL VOTE THEM OUT

  • Yonatan YONATAN

    MORE MONEY FOR NUKES BUTNOT PEOPLE.WE SEND OUR TROOPS TO IRAQ, BUT DON’T TREAT OUR VETERANS WELL WHEN THEY RETURN. WE SEND BILLIONS OF FOREIGN AID TO THE UKRAINE, AND OTHER COUNTRIES, BUT THE SENATE WON’T PASS THE UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSION BILL FOR THE THREE MILLION OF UNEMPLOYED FAMILIES WITHOUT BENEFITS SINCE LATE LAST DECEMBER. THESE FAMILIES HAVE FALLEN INTO FINANCIAL RUIN, MANY ARE WITHOUT HOMES. THE REPUBLICANS HAVE INTENTIONALLY DELAYED AND POSTPONED THE VOTE UNTIL THE BILL WOULD BECOME DIFFICULT TO PASS. THESE ARE OUR SO CALLED “PUBLIC SERVANTS” IN ACTION THESE DAYS. THEY ALL NEED TO BE VOTED OUT OF OFFICE FOR FAILING TO SERVE THE PEOPLE.

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