Don’t Touch that Triad

The nuclear triad escapes relatively unscathed in the Pentagon’s Fiscal 2013 budget request. “I believe we have full support for the triad in this budget,” said Defense Department Comptroller Robert Hale on Monday while briefing reporters on the new spending proposal. In it, DOD seeks $2.7 billion for “strategic deterrence” next fiscal year and $25.1 billion across the new future years defense program that runs through Fiscal 2017. Investments include continued early development of the Air Force’s next-generation bomber, keeping the service’s current bomber force structure intact, and supporting an analysis of alternatives for the nuclear-capable Long Range Standoff Missile—the planned replacement to the Air Launched Cruise Missile. The only major triad-related program undergoing a major change is the Navy’s SSBN(X) Ohio-class submarine replacement effort. Hale noted that the Navy is delaying SSBN(X) by two years primarily for affordability’s sake. According to the Pentagon, the delay is a “manageable risk” that will save $4.3 billion over the course of the FYDP.