Ellen Lord, under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment and 2019 Wash100 Award winner, said the government should avoid any interruption or funding cuts in its ongoing nuclear capability modernization to stay ahead of Russia and China, which have been upgrading their nuclear power. She cited that some U.S. weapons are already approaching ages where technologies are required to end operations, the Department of Defense said Thursday.
“We are living now with Cold War technology. We have put off modernizing the triad for multiple decades,” Lord said. “We need to move forward. So, any cut in funding would essentially have us unilaterally stand down in terms of our capability to have a credible nuclear deterrent.”
DoD and its military branches are working on upgrading or replacing weapons from the U.S. nuclear triad, including intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and air-launched cruise missiles. Pentagon launched the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program to replace aging weapons, including the Minuteman III ICBMs first deployed in 1970. The other systems the military plans to replace are the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines and the B-52H Stratofortress and B-2A Spirit legacy bombers.