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In a new post on the Strategic Security Blog, Nuclear Information Project Director Hans Kristensen writes that the current B61-12 program should be stopped and reassessed to reduce cost and scope. He states, "this level of nuclear cost increase and mismanagement is neither justifiable nor sustainable."
The expected cost of the B61 Life-Extension Program (LEP) has increased by 50 percent to $6 billion dollars, according to U.S. government sources. A year ago, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) estimated in its Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program report to Congress that the cost of the program would be approximately $4 billion. The escalating cost of the program – and concern that NNSA does not have an effective plan for managing it – has caused Congress to cap spending on the B61 LEP by 60 percent in 2012 and 100 percent in 2013. The Pentagon’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) office is currently evaluating NNSA’s cost estimate and is expected to release its assessment in July.
Besides mismanagement, the 50 percent increase is due to the ambitious modifications that NNSA, the nuclear laboratories, and the Pentagon say are needed to extend the life of the bomb.For more information on the B61, check out the new FAS report, Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons and these other resources on our website.