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Defense Primer : Ground Based Strategic Deterrent Capabilities

On September 8, 2020, the United States Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a $13.3 billion contract to develop a new nuclear missile, the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), intended to replace the 50-year old Minuteman III (MMIII) Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). (For details on the U.S. nuclear force structure, see CRS Report RL33640, U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues, by Amy F. Woolf.) MMIII has been deployed as the ground-based leg of the U.S. nuclear forces structure (the “Triad”) since 1970. The Air Force expects GBSD to begin replacing MMIII in 2029. As the missile moves toward production and deployment, issues for Congress include whether to authorize and appropriate funding for this program and, if so, to provide oversight as the program progresses and is implemented.

  • Author(s):
  • Benji Johnson
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  • White Paper
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Website:Visit Publisher Website
Publisher:Congressional Research Service
Published:November 10, 2020
License:Public Domain

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