The Trump White House’s proposed budget calls for big increases in research and development for new weapons, but it does not yet grapple with the ultimate budget-busting cost of producing a new fleet of delivery vehicles. The Obama administration left the hard budgetary choices for the next administration, and it is unclear whether Mr. Trump’s administration can stomach the rising cost.
“This is why there is no real five-year plan for the defense budget,” said Representative Adam Smith, Democrat of Washington and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, who has asked whether the United States needs all of the 1,550 nuclear weapons it can deploy under a 2010 treaty with Russia. “No one wants to face these numbers.”
The new estimate, which was obtained by The New York Times, offers a hard look at what it would take to remake an aging nuclear weapons complex that is vulnerable to cyberattack. While Mr. Obama once talked about eliminating such weapons over a period of decades, Mr. Trump has a different view. In December, he wrote on Twitter that the United States “must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability.”