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DOD and DOE Face Challenges Mitigating Risks to U.S. Deterrence Efforts

  • Author(s):
  • Allison Bawden
  • Joe Kirschbaum

Three kinds of systems that can launch nuclear weapons make up the U.S. nuclear triad:

  • Nuclear-capable heavy bombers (known as the “air leg”)
  • Intercontinental ballistic missiles or ICBMs (“ground leg”)
  • Ballistic missile submarines (“sea leg”)

Most of these systems, however, are nearing or past their planned end-of-life dates. And all of their replacement systems are at risk of delays. For example, parts of the current ICBM could age out faster than expected, while the replacement ICBM faces delays.

The Departments of Defense and Energy must carefully manage their nuclear weapons programs to continue to credibly deter foreign adversaries.

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  • White Paper
Website:Visit Publisher Website
Publisher:Government Accountability Office (GAO)
Published:May 6, 2021
License:Public Domain

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