Next U.S. president must address aging nuclear arsenal

A 61-year-old design, the lumbering B-52 still accounts for the bulk of the U.S. strategic bomber fleet; the airframe is expected to remain in service until 2040 (source: dpa)
A 61-year-old design, the lumbering B-52 still accounts for the bulk of the U.S. strategic bomber fleet; the airframe is expected to remain in service until 2040 (source: dpa)

The United States’ nuclear weapons systems are old, and getting older. How – or even whether – the country will take steps to maintain and modernize this force is one of the key unanswered questions for U.S. defense policy going forward. The issue has attracted scant attention from the politicians running for president, but nuclear policy will be a topic that the next administration will have to address once it takes office in 2017.

Since the end of the Cold War, Washington has focused more on the fate of the former Soviet nuclear arsenal and nonproliferation, and less on the future of its own force. However, the issue of modernizing the U.S.’s nuclear weapons systems can no longer be...

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