Although the U.S. spends $16 billion to fund the Department of Defense portion of U.S. nuclear deterrent, as Deputy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter remarked at the Aspen Security Forum on July 18, 2013, he also noted that the US nuclear deterrent is a relatively small portion of the defense budget — less than 3% — and as such does not offer a great deal of room for budget savings.
Irrespective of the number of Minuteman missiles eventually deployed, the level of research and development investment is independent of the eventual number of Minuteman missiles deployed. Over the next decade, the primarily cost of Minuteman will be R&D. Thus a cut in Minuteman missiles deployed over the next 20 years would not result in budget savings for the U.S. (For an excellent look at the cost of Minuteman, see the Stimson Center 2012 study directed by a former top Senate defense staffer Russell Rumbaugh, “Resolving Ambiguity: Costing Nuclear Weapons“, September 17, 2012).
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