US Defence Secretary Ash Carter has announced that close to $19bn will be spent on the Department of Defense's (DoD) nuclear deterrence enterprise in 2017.
The DoD will invest $108bn in the nuclear enterprise over the next five years.
The proposed investment will support and recapitalise the nuclear force and associated strategic command, control, communications, and intelligence systems.
Carter said that existing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines will be replaced.
He further added: “If we don’t replace these systems, quite simply they will age even more, and become unsafe, unreliable, and ineffective.
“The fact is, most of our nuclear weapon delivery systems have already been extended decades beyond their original expected service lives. So it’s not a choice between replacing these platforms or keeping them. It’s really a choice between replacing them or losing them.
"That would mean losing confidence in our ability to deter, which we can’t afford in today’s volatile security environment.”
The DoD has underfunded its nuclear deterrence enterprise since the end of the Cold War, according to Carter.
Carter said: “One way the nuclear landscape has changed: we didn’t build new types of nuclear weapons or delivery systems for the last 25 years, but others did, at the same time that our allies in Asia, the Middle East, and Nato did not.”
The US has increased its spending on missile defence in order to counter North Korean missile threats.
Image: US Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks to troops at Minot Air Force Base. Photo: courtesy of DoD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley.