Hagel Announces Nuclear Overhaul

Appearing with nuclear commanders from across the US military, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel unveiled an enterprise-wide action plan for investment, improvement, and reform to address systemic problems identified across the nation’s nuclear deterrent force. “Our nuclear enterprise is foundational to America’s national security, and our attention must reflect that,” said Hagel during the Nov. 14 Pentagon briefing. DOD will work to add 10 percent to the nuclear enterprise budget each of the next five years, with an emphasis on actions that improve the security and sustainment of the current force, ensure that modernization of the force remains on track, and enhance the morale of the force, said Hagel. Currently, DOD spends between $15 billion and 16 billion a year on the nuclear mission. An internal and an independent external review of the nuclear force made more than 100 recommendations for the additional investment, he said. The reviews found that nuclear forces are meeting demands, but changes must be made to address issues that could undermine the safety, security, and effectiveness of the force. (Hagel’s prepared comments and DOD factsheet) (Independent nuclear review; caution; large-sized file.) (Independent review executive summary) (See also Hagel’s message to nuclear enterprise.)