Saving Billions on the US Nuclear Deterrent

Author: Matt Korda


The United States Air Force has initiated a program to replace its current arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) with an entirely new missile force known as the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD). The GBSD’s price tag continues to grow beyond initial expectations, with the program on track to become one of the country’s most expensive nuclear-related budgetary items over the next decade.

The GBSD is risky, draws funding away from more urgent priorities, and will exacerbate the Pentagon’s budget crisis. A better approach would be to extend the life of the current ICBM force (the Minuteman III) in the near term, while spreading the costs of nuclear modernization out over the longer term. This approach will ensure that the United States can field a capable ICBM force on a continuous basis without compromising other critical security priorities.

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About the Author

Matt Korda is a Senior Research Associate and Project Manager for the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, where he co-authors the Nuclear Notebook –– an authoritative accounting of global nuclear forces and trends. Matt is also an Associate Researcher with the Nuclear Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation Programme at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Previously, he worked for the Arms Control, Disarmament, and WMD Non-Proliferation Centre at NATO HQ in Brussels. Matt received his MA in International Peace & Security from the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. His work has been widely published and quoted in The Washington Post, Forbes, CBC, Politico, The Nation, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Defense One, and others.