Despite rising costs, the US continues with its controversial nuclear warhead program.

Despite rising costs, the US continues with its controversial nuclear warhead program.

Despite a staggering 81% debt level, the U.S. Department of Defense continues development of Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program The United States makes this decision in an effort to modernize its nuclear arsenal, sometimes referred to as the "nuclear triangle."

The Sentinel, designed to replace obsolete Minuteman III missiles, is now expected to come in at a whopping $140.9 billion, almost above the $77.7 billion original Nunn-McCurdy rule estimate doubled it—the Pentagon review requirement for programs exceeding the 25% cost increase caused by The regulations —and this is due to significant cost overruns, however, the review led to the discovery that Sentinel has no real competition.

While acknowledging the high costs, William LaPlante, the under secretary of defense for acquisition, emphasized the perceived risks of not modernizing US nuclear forces.

The ballooning cost can be attributed not just to the missile itself, but also to extensive upgrades of ground infrastructure like launch control centers, missile bases, and testing facilities.

This decision has sparked fierce criticism. Over 700 US scientists from various institutions sent a joint letter to President Biden and Congress urging them to abandon the "expensive, dangerous, and unnecessary" program. They argue that building new nuclear weapons is a reckless expenditure with no strategic justification.

"These weapons, stored in silos across the country, become targets themselves, increasing the risk of nuclear war while offering no real security benefit," stated Tara Drozdenko, director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The current size of the US nuclear arsenal is capped by the New START treaty, negotiated with Russia in 2010. However, the treaty's expiration in 2026 looms large, with no guarantees of renewal. Additionally, Russia suspended its participation last year, citing US sanctions and support for Ukrainian attacks on Russian airbases. Despite the suspension, Russia continues to adhere to the treaty's limits on nuclear weapons and delivery systems.