More Money for Nuke Modernization

The National Nuclear Security Administration boosted its defense program budget request for Fiscal 2017 by 4.5 percent above Fiscal 2016 appropriations, mainly to support nuclear warhead modernization, officials announced. “The FY 2017 budget request is a strong endorsement of NNSA’s vital and enduring missions, and is indicative of the administration’s unwavering commitment to a strong national defense,” NNSA administrator retired Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz said in a Feb. 9 release. NNSA requested $9.2 billion for defense programs, including the Air Force’s B61-12 nuclear freefall bomb upgrade and life extension. The fund supports delivery of the first production B61 Mod 12, which pairs the refurbished and upgraded warhead with a precision-guided tailkit, by 2020, according to the release. “Investments in modernization of our nuclear enterprise; implementation of our long-term stockpile stewardship strategy…are critical to carrying out our missions,” added Klotz. The funding request also accelerates dismantlement of obsolescent warheads, upgrades outdated infrastructure and equipment, and continues life extension of several Navy warheads.