Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Report Calls for a Modernization of the Nuclear Arsenal that Makes Strategic and Budgetary Sense
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Report Calls for a Modernization of the Nuclear Arsenal that Makes Strategic and Budgetary Sense

Online Interactive Allows Users to Build Their Own Arsenal and Compare Costs with Current Plans and CAP’s Proposal

Washington, D.C. — Over the next decade, the U.S. will be forced to make important decisions regarding the shape and makeup of its nuclear arsenal. Nearly every nuclear program is nearing the end of its service life and must be either modernized or replaced. This could cost more than a $1 trillion over the coming decades and raise domestic and international political questions and concerns that should be resolved now—before the situation becomes acute.

The Center for American Progress has published a major report looking at the current state of our aging nuclear arsenal and the role the U.S. will need to play as a nuclear deterrent in the future. Written by CAP Senior Fellows Lawrence Korb and Adam Mount, the report makes recommendations for modernizing the arsenal in a way that makes budgetary sense while taking into account political pressures at home and abroad, as well as the future needs of the U.S. military.

The Center for American Progress has also released an online interactive that offers users the specifics of the current state of the arsenal; the government modernization plan; as well as the CAP proposal, allowing anyone to build their own arsenal and compare how much it would cost.

“In the next few decades, the U.S. will have to replace or revamp nearly all of its nuclear arsenal,” said Lawrence Korb. “Historically a cyclical affair, the last time our nuclear capabilities were modernized on this scale was in the early 1980s as then-President Ronald Reagan sought to expand funding in order to outspend and eventually weaken the Soviet Union. Over the next decade, the cost of nuclear deterrence could reach $1 trillion—a level of spending that is unsustainable for an arsenal that could only exacerbate tensions within the international community. The U.S. must make critical decisions based not on the needs of fighting the Cold War but that of our future strategic, budgetary, and political needs.”

One of the recommendations made in the report is the cancellation of the next generation of air-launched cruise missiles. Recommendations also include reducing the number of nuclear submarine in the U.S. fleet from 12 to 10, as well as refurbishing current intercontinental ballistic missiles rather than the developing a new missile and replacing the old stock. The entire proposal would save over $100 billion over the course of the next few decades.

Click here to read the report.
Click here to use the interactive.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at or 202.481.7141.