Deterrence Costs Could Break the Bank

The Department of Defense is “headed towards a very serious affordability problem in a few years” because of the cost of maintaining and modernizing the nuclear deterrent, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Frank Kendall said this week. “We’re confronting a really big bill starting in 2021 with the strategic deterrent,” Kendall said at a Washington Space Business Roundtable luncheon. “It’s on the order of $15 billion a year that would have to come out of other accounts … and we do not see any way that we could rationally do the things we’re asked to do in the world, sustain the forces that we need to have for our commitments, and keep our modernization programs reasonable, and do that at the same time.” The five-year plan in the Pentagon’s proposed budget does include about $3 billion to $4 billion of relief in 2021, Kendall said, “but it remains to be seen what is going to happen after that.” (For more from Kendall’s speech see also: RD-180s OK for Now.)