On Thursday, a call was made by the U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to expand the nations nuclear capabilities until the “world comes to its senses.”
This follows the speech given in Moscow by the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, who told Russians that “We need to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces, especially with missile complexes that can reliably penetrate any existing and prospective missile defense systems.”
Trump said on twitter,
The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2016
Trump, who takes office on January 20th, promised to build up the U.S. military as well as cut taxes and control federal spending. He also spoke of mending U.S. and Russian relations. Putin confirmed this in his speech on Thursday, saying he had spoken to the President-elect.
Currently, Trump is enjoying his Christmas holiday in Florida, and has yet to elaborate on his nuclear expansion plans.
Jason Miller, Trump’s spokesman who was asked about the President-elects tweet, said that Trump was “referring to the threat of nuclear proliferation and the critical need to prevent it, particularly to and among terrorist organizations and unstable and rogue regimes.” Miller also stated that Trump “emphasized the need to improve and modernize our deterrent capability as a vital way to pursue peace through strength.”
U.S. ballistic missile submarines, bombers, and land-based missiles, the three legs of the nuclear triad, are believed to end their usefulness over the next decade. An independent estimate puts the cost of preserving and developing the arsenal at $1 trillion dollars over the next 30 years.
A dozen Pentagon officials from the defense acquisition programs, along with chief executives from Lockheed Martin and Boeing Co, the two largest defense contractors, met with Trump on Wednesday. Lowering costs on the Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jets and Boeings replacement 747-8s for the presidential Air Force One plane were two high-profile programs that Trump discussed with the CEOs.
Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the United States, Russia, Britain, France, and China are among the five states allowed t0 have a nuclear arsenal.
The U.S. arsenal, which has since been patched up to extend its life, had most of its innovation take place between 25 and 62 years ago during the nuclear arms race with the former Soviet Union.
During a visit to the North Dakota air force base, which houses nuclear missiles, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said, “It’s not a choice between replacing these platforms or keeping them, it’s really a choice between replacing them or losing them.”
The Congressional Budget Office has noted that upgrading the arsenal could cost up to $348 billion through 2024. They believe costs to upgrade would increase after that point. The nuclear program would still only make up an estimated 5 percent of the Pentagon’s budget, even at its highest cost.
Trump’s tweet did little to effect the defense stocks; however, shares of small uranium miner Uranium Resources Inc. and Uranium Energy Corp. shot up.
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