In an interview with Reuters Thursday, President Donald Trump stated that while it would be preferable for there to be no nuclear weapons in the planet “but if countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top rated of the pack."
Trump, who made similar assertions in December, told Reuters that the United States has “fallen behind on nuclear weapon capacity."
“I am the very first one particular that would like to see ... nobody have nukes,” said Trump. “But we’re by no means going to fall behind any country even if it is a friendly nation, we’re never ever going to fall behind on nuclear energy.”
"It would be excellent, a dream would be that no country would have nukes, but if nations are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top rated of the pack," Trump said.
The Reuters query was based on a tweet President Trump posted in December about strengthening and expanding America's nuclear weapons capability.
As of September 2015, the United States has a total of four,571 warheads in its nuclear weapons stockpile, according to a State Department official. The United States has retired thousands of nuclear warheads that are removed from their delivery platform that are not integrated in this total, the official stated, noting these warheads are not functional and are in a queue for dismantlement.
The 2011 New Get started (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) nuclear weapons agreement limits to 1,550 the quantity of nuclear warheads that can be deployed on ICBMs, submarines or heavy bombers by the U.S. and Russia. Each countries have till February 2018 to meet the New START’s reduction target levels for deployed warheads.
The United States presently has 1,367 deployed nuclear weapons whilst Russia has 1,796. The bigger Russian number is a temporary increase as Russia replaces older warheads with new ones.
The elements of America's nuclear triad of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM's), strategic bombers, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles are decades old. Whilst the Pentagon has undergone a modernization procedure to maintain these systems intact more than that time, the Pentagon has plans to replace every single leg of the triad in the coming decades.
But the Pentagon's plans to update and modernize the nuclear triad will be a lengthy and pricey enterprise. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told Congress earlier this year that it will price $350 billion to $450 billion to update and modernize beginning in 2021. But there are some estimates that a 30-year modernization plan could cost as a lot as $1 trillion.
And that process has gotten underway considering that the lifespan of the existing delivery systems ends in the next 15 to 20 years. Replacement systems are at the moment in the phase of analysis, improvement, testing and evaluation.
The U.S. Air Force maintains a fleet of 450 Minuteman III ICBM missiles positioned in underground silos across the plains states, each carrying multiple nuclear warheads. A key leg of the nuclear triad, the Minuteman III missiles went into service in the 1970's and have been upgraded ever because to retain them mission ready. No new ICBM missiles have gone into service given that the MX missile was deployed in the 1980's, but those missiles were retired a decade ago.
Last summer,the Air Force started the procedure of soliciting designs for a new ICBM to replace the Minuteman III, with the 1st new missile scheduled to enter service by 2029.
The Air Force has already begun the procedure of replacing the 76 B-52 strategic bombers that have been flying given that the 1960's with the new B-21 "Raider" that will commence flying in 2025. Upgrades to the B-52, made in the 1950's, have permitted the aircraft to continue serving as a nuclear-capable aircraft and also allowed it to conduct airstrikes against ISIS.
The Navy has also begun the course of action to locate a replacement for its 14 Ohio Class ballistic missile submarine fleet that initially went into service in the 1980's. But the initial Columbia Class submarine is not slated to enter service until 2031.
But it is vital to point out that a replacement of these systems, while incredibly high-priced, does not equate to an all round growth of the nuclear arsenal.
In other words, the U.S. is hunting to turn into a lot more efficient -- it’s not seeking for extra nuclear weapons. As one defense official place it, with the price of the new systems, the Pentagon is basically not able to do a 1-to-one replacement.
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