U.S. Military To Spend $1 Trillion On Nuclear Weapons

U.S. Military To Spend $1 Trillion On Nuclear Weapons
[[:en:User:{{{1}}}|{{{1}}}]] at the English language Wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0, GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

The United States’ decision to spend $1 trillion to modernize its nuclear arsenal risks setting off another nuclear arms race according to numerous experts.

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Nuclear weapons are scary

As a product of the 70s, I was genuinely convinced that my life would end in a Soviet missile strike until I reached my teens. To be completely honest, it wasn’t so much the threat of an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) strike that terrified me as much as the Soviet Union’s leader having his finger on a button that could destroy the United States. At age four, I felt it odd that we would allow the Soviet Union to bury nuclear weapons in the United States so that all that a Soviet leader would need to is push a button to erase me from the planet.

Okay, I was young. But I was still frightened and the ABC network produced “The Day After” did me no favors either. That was nothing short of terrifying and with over 100 million viewers, to date the most watched debut of a television movie. I certainly wasn’t the only one that was truly frightened. It didn’t help that as a ten-year old in 1983, I was forbade from watching it with my parents and banished to my room where they clearly forgot I had a small (black and white) television. I guess in ABC’s defense it did clear up that whole “finger on the button” misunderstanding while scaring me out of my mind.

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I briefly felt better in 1986 when I was lucky enough to attend the Reykjavík Summit in Iceland (long story) but that feeling lasted about as long as it took for the summit to collapse nearly as soon as it began.

Now I don’t really think about nuclear war but have been tasked to write about the potential for an upcoming nuclear arms race.

New START treaty could have unintended consequences

In 2010, then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (don’t feel bad for forgetting about him given Putin’s shadow) and President Barack Obama signed the New START treaty which committed both nations to reducing their nuclear stockpiles to 1,550 deployed warheads for each country by the 2018. I suppose I should be happier about this but that is enough of an arsenal to blow up the world over and over again and that doesn’t include the other nations in possession of nuclear weapons.

At the time of the treaty’s signing, Russia had an estimated 2,600 deployed warheads with the United States “lagging” behind with “only” 2,000 according to the Arms Control Association.

But with this cut in nuclear warheads comes a cost, and a significant one at that. A number of the United States’ nukes are being dismantled while others are simply being stored to change their status to “non-deployed.” Others still are receiving a costly “life extension program” like the B61-12 “gravity bomb” which is terrifically over-budget at $8 to $10 billion when approved at $1 to $2 billion.

“Apart from the stratospheric price, the most controversial element of the B61 upgrade is the replacement of the existing rigid tail with one that has moving fins that will make the bomb smarter and allow it to be guided more accurately to a target,” Julian Borger wrote in The Guardian earlier this month.

The arms race continues

In October, an Air Force F-15E fighter dropped a B61-12 in the deserts of New Mexico with alarming accuracy. While this could lead to bombs with lesser yields owing to this new found accuracy, it could also lead to problems.

While smaller bombs would, in theory, benefit Moscow, numerous experts believe that the deployment of these more accurate weapons in Europe could give Russia an excuse for military maneuvers around Poland  and the former Baltic states of Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia all of whom are NATO members.

“Moscow has predictably classified work on the new modification as a threat and an arms race,” Nikolai Sokov, a senior fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, told Tech Insider in an email recently.

Russia will match U.S. nuclear-conventional deployment

“The future, I believe, looks pretty gloomy. I see modern conventional weapons used in Russian policy toward NATO as an overt or a covert threat,” Sokov said.

“We are looking at a combined nuclear-conventional arms race in Europe in the near future,” Sokov concluded in is email to Tech Insider, “which will likely continue for an extended period of time.”

Rokas Masiulis, Lithuania‘s energy minister, agreed with this when speaking to the The New York Times recently. “They keep up constant pressure just to show they have influence,” he said adding, “It is all part of the general atmosphere of provocation and rising tensions in the region.”

Updated on

While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. <i>To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at theflask@gmail.com</i>
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  1. I believe in people fixing things they don’t like about their country rather than moving away… But in your case I would make an exception. I’m sure at some point you said that if Trump gets elected you will leave the United States not like all those other California yuppies… So……….. do you need me to send you a ticket?

  2. it appears as though the ONLY country not in an nuclear arms race is the U.S.. Everyone else is so far past us we need to catch up. Spending $1 trillion isn’t going to change anything but make us safer.

  3. Yes those impressive missiles fires from the Russian Ship they claimed hit the targets at 900 miles away actually one crashed in Iran,”ooops” lol (that is a fact) if your gonna get in the game Kor K you need to know the rules and the rules in a conversation is you need to know what is fact and what isnt. got it?…Good

  4. The U.S.A Has things that people don’t even know about we have out spent every country in the world combined on our military for the last 30 years trust me when i say this to you The U.S.A has game changing cards up its sleeve….Be Afraid Russia China be very very afraid.

  5. Ibbano1 you may be ignorant and stupid at least your not a girly boy ! Ballistic Nuclear Missiles wow you can spell,,Impressive your such an expert ibbano1 can you tell me how many airbases the United States Of America Has around the world on Foreign Soil? can you say 800 how many for Russia? 6 lol your Stupid Country is surrounded…Checkmate dumbass!

  6. Well honey, first off the United States doesn’t have 52 states. The United States possesses >>>50<<>>long-range<<< ballistic missile (LRBM) possess a range between 3,500 km and 5,500 km. Conversely INTERCONTENENTAL ballistic missile OR (ICBM) possesses a range greater than 5,500 km.

    That bit of education aside what my inquiry centered on was how you seem to think that 52 ballistic missiles translates into "evaporating you off the face of the earth". The reason I asked centered on the fact that given the context of your statement, said statement is both odd and belies a decided lack of understanding on nuclear weapons, nuclear strategy and mass delivery systems. You see the context of your statement essentially makes the argument that with 52 "long range missiles” would be able to “evaporate you off the face of the earth”. Now all things being equal (hardness of the target, weather conditions, accuracy of delivery system measured in circle error probable, yield of the warhead etcetera) if you are talking about ONE person you would only need one warhead. If based on the context of your ambiguous statement you are referring to all of the United States (all 50 not 52 states) or all the 50 states plus United States territories, even if the 52 “long range missiles” where SS 18’s (which are actually intercontinental ballistic missiles) and if memory serves me correctly currently the largest delivery system in the russian arsenal) and said SS -18s where all "M.I.R.V.ed" and every reentry vehicle was a actual warhead you would not be able to “EVAPORATE every American citizen of the face of the earth”. Either way your statement is utter hogwash.

    Now run along before I go Dick @#$% Cheney all over your ass.

  7. HONEY ?…well HONEY, i am a DUDE
    And if you CAN’T understand what Long range missiles means,,,here it is in BOLD
    52 is the number of your states
    Any FURTHER clarifications ?

  8. “But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him..” ~ Luke. 12:5 (KJV)

  9. You are right, we are on the same page. “Chime In” means making your comment known as a comment. You said, “The Plain Truth , well said.” I took that to mean you agreed with my point of view and comment. Hope you have a great day.

  10. You are a very negative person. If you in fact are American, you were born with the liberties and freedoms giving you the responsibility and where with all to take the direction you chose in life to be successful. Your excuse of there being no American dream now and “mega corporations” sucking the wealth are excuses for your inability to be successful (state of mind) in America. If you do not like the American way of life, try the Russian way of life or the Chinese way of life or for that matter, any other countries way of life! Best of luck MJ

  11. Stupid Russia tried to prove it was still significant by boasting about its nuclear arms……all it did was scare America into improving its current stockpile……..Russia should be better at learning cause and effect relationships…….lol

  12. Russia already restarted the arms race by breaking the treaty back in 2007. They did that by building more medium range nukes. They are the ones pushing it upon us again. They made sure to let everyone know by the end of this year that they would have about 20 more nukes than the United States. Whether or not that has actually come to fruition or not…I am not certain of. But you better darn well believe that we can blow them away just as easily as they can us.

    Russia, you need to get over your cockiness!! That’s your greatest weakness! Your pride will be your down fall. Just like ours will be to us also.

  13. I’m not sure what ” chime in ” is , when in America One hears or reads a True reflection of American belief . You do what I did . You did the same thing on Richard’s last sentence , so I will assume since you ” Chimed in ” were on the same page ……right….?

  14. KK started into the subject of the mess on the ground . I have not replied to any of that yet . You are totally correct on your first paragraph….. . The second paragraph , I believe that Russia and the So-Called Separatists are one in the same . Have you seen their equipment and gear , they have absolutely no way to manufacture , buy , transport or even train for what they are fielding . Only the Russians can Do what that Malaysian Air-Liner went through, I believe . The Third , I would like to learn more about the Air-Liner . The Hospital was a shame , and being a Democratic Nation of Law , We need to get the Facts out, Period . On the Topic , I believe it’s just common sense that We/America keep Our Knock Out Ability , at least a couple Generations a-head of all others ……… .

  15. The American way of life? You better say what is left of it as the American dream is DEAD. Those mega-corporations have sucked all the wealth out of the country.

  16. @Joshua,
    I had that silly idea that nuclear weapons might not even exist. They might be just a creation of the west to keep the other nations frightened. When NK claimed to have detonated their first nuclear weapons, the reaction of the US was that it was several tons of TNT explosives set up to make it look like a nuclear weapon. Hmmm…this is telling me a lot.

  17. You are so right. When are the people of this country going to wake up? Getting a decent job in this country now is a luxury but trillions are being spent on arms to kill more people. Do you know how many jobs could be created with a trillion dollars?

  18. have you heard of the concept of proxy war? A government can “finance” something and then blame someone else. A false flag is a government does something to it’s own people and blames someone else. All this does is increase the “loose nukes” scenario.


    Go to cfr.org and learn something. Fortunately, I think a measly one trillion dollars will pay for one nuclear weapon and the rest will slip into crony capitalist pockets.

  19. Nice for you to chime in. This type of topic and the Russian ars’s come out of the woodwork! They only hear what Putin wants them to hear, they know no difference.

  20. Where have you been for the last 2 years, with your head up Putin’s ars? I see your favorite word is brainwashed! You really ought to improve your vocabulary because right now you are an insignificant commenter.

  21. That was called “city mining ” and it was pushed by a pro soviet douchebag. Thank God Lt General Daniel Gram destroyed that idea in public

  22. you can spend ZILLION dollar on nuclear weapons if you wish
    All what it takes to EVAPORATE you from the face of earth is a simple (52) long range missiles with nuclear heads
    Well, here are the BAD news, ONLY Russia got 790 of those

  23. How dare the US react to the modernization of Russian Nuclear weapons… for shame. They should just put their hands in their laps and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist.

  24. If you’re talking about the few dozens people Russian strikes killed in their air campaign against ISIS then you should learn that every country kills civilians in a war. US bombed one million in Iraq out of which 150 000 were civilians.
    Russia didn’t shoot the Malaysian airliner, the only fact known is that a Russian BUK missile shit it which both Russian and Ukranian separatists had.
    And you do know US shot an airliner in Iraq 6 years ago and a hospital in Afghanistan one month ago right?

  25. That’s it ….. ?…. Ha Ha . I guess I will pick up my Gloves . I thought for a minute you knew what your posting . Look , just read the time frame of events concerning Your Russia in Syria and you will become educated . The Russian Missile that shot down a passenger jet ( Ukraine ) was a few months ago Knuckle-Head , I did not say last month . Your comprehension is bad …..

  26. US created ISIS, US is arming and training terrorists in Syria, US avoids fighting ISIS, US has bombed a hospital in Afghanistan one month ago, US illegally invaded and bombed Iraq killing 1.3 million people. And Russia is the bad one?

  27. -Their missiles are falling in Iran? huh? care to give more info on that?
    -“Just last month Russian missile killed a couple hundred people” , no idea what you’re talking about, obviously since that never happened, unless you mean ISIS then yes i am aware of that.

    As i already knew you got nothing, Thanks for proving me you’re brainwashed

  28. O K , lets do this…. . The Ruskies just got their jet shot down , because some so-called Commander sent it into a combat zone without air to air capability. their missiles are falling in Iran . Putin , himself threatens with nukes against the West just last month . Russian missile kills a couple hundred people , all with Putin’s hand in them . Now you claim someone else is Brain-Washed….. Ha Ha . Come on , lets see what you got…. ?

  29. Putin threatened with nuclear weapons? name the country Putin threaten to bomb with nuclear weapons? as David said you’re brainwashed.

  30. You know , Who cares what China is Holding …… . The Only reason they hold on to American T-Bills is to prop up the Yuan , with out those T-Bills China is in Trouble and the CCP knows that . In the last 2 years China actually Dumped some , the reaction was that T-Bills were bought up in less than ten minutes by other Countries . The CCP holds those T-Bills very close …. Today

  31. With Leaders such as Mad-Max Putin and China’s CCP Front Man Xi with their hand on Nukes …… . Modernizing your ” Tools ” is ” JUST ” in many ways . Who … ?, lets their Guns get rusty , only a fool….. .

  32. Putin over any US/EU puppet politician any time.
    You should stay out of Europe and the rest of the world.
    And fairytale that Assad killing its own people is ridiculous.
    You lied countless times in similar conflicts and nobody believes you anymore. Greatest sponsor of terrorism is US others you can name at you will.

  33. they could spend 1 shabalaball zillion dolars on new rockets if a pair of NIKE-s in China costs 1 $ that Nikes are costing 50 $ to make in US so j thing that Russians and Chinese are more likely to spend that money on a new car and make BULAVA s and Dong Fengs for 5-6 million dolars and all and if captain KIRK eliminate 90% of that rockets theres a possibility that 10% of that dirty technology hit VEGAS or Washington

  34. putin doesnt give a s about what the U.S. does. he is not an aggressor the media is portraying him as the fall guy but people dont understand the facts.. who is aiding ISIS in syria? the us. who is causing terrorism across the globe. ISIS. us=isis. now all of a sudden countries want to come together to defeat isis.. well if the usa would stop arming them to fight russia/syria and letting them come to the us and europe as ‘refugee’s.

  35. No money for retirees or veterans benefits but unlimited money to bail out banks, the corporate war machine and foreign countries mooching off of America (Israel). Pathetic!

  36. Exactly my question. This “article” is nothing more then the intellectually dishonest ranting of someone who think that regurgitation of soviet propaganda somehow equals rational discourse.

  37. The above comment seems to be a straw man argument. I never discounted the significance of of the danger posed by a high intensity systemic war fought with nuclear weapons. Rather my criticism centers on the FACT that the author grossly overstates the impact of a massive nuclear exchange via regurgitating the vacuous mantra that finds its origins stems from soviet active measures. As i said before if you are going to make a article on something as important as say nuclear deterrence then you should at least understand the basics elements that define thew substantive element of said topic. Don’t even get me started on said “authors” idiotic statements which overstate the economic cost of modernizing United States nuclear deterrence. Run along honey

  38. “…risk setting off another nuclear arms race…” Are you joking? What do you call what’s going on with Russia and China if not arms race? The Cold War never ended, the Russians needed a break to adjust their system from communist to semi-communist and then they resumed the Cold War. I think mother nature is fed up with 7.5 billion people who are destroying the air, water, and exterminating scores of animal and plant species. So, mother nature decided to eradicate them by their own hands, who knows may be multiple hydrogen bombs and a hundred year later you get fresh and better earth.

  39. The decision to continue the attempt to gain a military advantage in nuclear weaponry was made long ago, and by the US. In fact, the US would now have a credible first strike ability if the Russians had not begun their modernization during the Bush administration. Given that history, the US must update its old missiles. The best hope for ordinary people of both nations is that both will maintain an arsenal that is certain to destroy the other in a retaliatory strike.

  40. they could spend 1 shabalaball zillion dolars on new rockets if a pair of NIKE-s in China costs 1 $ that Nikes are costing 50 $ to make in US so j thing that Russians and Chinese are more likely to spend that money on a new car and make BULAVA s and Dong Fengs for 5-6 million dolars and all and if captain KIRK elimate 90% of that rockets theres a possibility that 10% of that dirty technology hit VEGAS or Washington

  41. $1 trillion is nothing. That’s less than what the Chinese have in U.S. T-bills which they have $1.2 trillion. The total American wealth is $80 trillion. Pocket change.

  42. As rare as plutonium and uraniumam are I find it hard to believe the numbers some times. This many nuclear bombs and we had to scrap every little bit we could find to make the first two bombs. Sometimes I think the numbers are there just to keep us frightened.

  43. Whaaaat?? Only 1 trillion? Don’t we need more than that? Everyone around us is rattling the nuclear saber and we need to make sure they understand – no one gets out alive.

  44. Those like yourself take issue with America and give Putin accolades. You chose to single out Saudi Arabia as a sponsor of ISIS and terrorism knowing full well ISIS is formed from many sick groups getting together from all corners of the world. That does not make SA a sponsor or terrorism. You do not like SA because of the oil issue. Do not hide behind Putin and blame everything except who should be blamed. Assad for his dirty, murderous deeds he placed his country under and Putin for supporting Assad. And Putin is supporting Assad for political reasons and not for humanitarian reasons. You chose Putin and Russian idealism and I’ll chose the American way of life and how to sustain that way of life any day. Good luck to you and those supporting Putin.

  45. The DoD spends less than 1.5% of their annual budget to maintain, sustain and operate it’s nuclear deterrence…They plan to upgrade and spend more in the future because of the lack of past funding. But 1 trillion? Show me the money!

  46. Wait a damn minute, the author thinks one trillion is a lot of money on trying to destroy the world? The Pentagon steals, it sounds better matter of fact than waste, Some sources put the figure at eight trillions , while others put it at 14 trillions. Don’t tell me that suddenly America is starting to save taxpayer’s money?
    Don’t tell me this epiphany happened on the way to the forum?

    Don’t let republicans, tea partiers find out, otherwise they will raise the budget 20 trillions to cover all those millions “our” elected “representatives” receive for “favors” given. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours, the problem with this quid pro quo is that “our politicians” have the worst psoriasis and scratching is all they do.

    And how republicans, tea partiers try to balance the fiscal deficit? By trying to do away with Medicare, Social Security, safety nets, cutting education to the bone, letting infrastructure crumble like a house of cards, etc.

    But for war and destruction, the sky is the limit.

    Is there anybody listening? The worst part of all these shenanigans? People are not fed up as Howard Beale in the movie network with his: “‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’, ergo, politicians continue to milk uncle Sam for their own special interests, not those of America.
    If not for those retards of republicans and tea partiers, America could be the land of milk and honey, not the land of “spreading democracy” with bombs, war crimes galore. One thing I can say about Putin, he is no dummy, he is so smart that when he is coming, our dummies are going. Let’s hope, for the world’s sake, that this is more about stealing for “security and freedom” like in Iraq and Afghanistan than for a real war.
    We can live with the Pentagon stealing trillions, heck that is their way of life, but with one real all nuclear war, say hello to my little friend: Hell.

  47. 1 trillion is 1/3 of the US annual budget, and more than 1 year of military spending. I doubt ths figure is accurate, at least in the short term

  48. Richard
    Think- Putin is not as arrogant as American politicians. Putin takes steps very carefully. Our actions in the world are exposing our hypocrisy. We have lost total respect in the world. We are being brainwashed. Whole world is against us. On one hand we are buddy buddy with Saudi cutthroats thugs but ISIS cutthroats are bad. Although ISIS is part of Saudi Arabia.
    We want regime changes all over the world but support biggest human rights violator Saudi Arabia.

  49. “At age four, I felt it odd that we would allow the Soviet Union to bury nuclear weapons in the United States so that all that a Soviet leader would need to is push a button to erase me from the planet.” – What a load of crap lol!

  50. it kept the russians at bay for 50 years and protects us from the smaller powers who might contemplate using or selling their weapons.

  51. we have not been attack it will be silly for someone attack us they will also be toasted…that is the only reason that has not happen so far!!!! mutual destruction!!!!

  52. Looks like China isn’t mentioned anywhere in the entire article, lol. Looks like comprehensive reading skills failure from a failing educational system?

    I agree those billions be best spend on proper education.

  53. Stupidity, we need healhcare, roads, schools, pension more than we need nukes, we spend a lot of money in the 1960″s and it was money down the drain, seems that we never learn…..we do it the others will do it and
    here we go again!!!!

  54. The U.S. spending to upgrade its nuclear arsenal is promoting an arms race??? I’d say Putin’s threat of using nuclear weapons is promoting an arms race and is promoting the U.S. military to insure it’s deterrence. I am glad my country is looking out for America’s continued existence. Honestly folks, there is no difference between the principles of Stalin and Putin.

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