Now that the detailed budget has come out, a few NNSA FY 2019 nuclear weapons budget highlights:
• There doesn’t seem to be a separate budget line item for the low-yield Trident warhead. Instead, it appears to be part of the existing W76-1 Life Extension Program, which is actually ramping down from 221 million in FY 18 to 114 million in FY19.
But the NNSA FY19 budget does say this, hinting at more money in the future:
W76-1 Life Extension Program
The W76-1 LEP extends the life of the weapon for an additional 30 years. NNSA completed the FPU in FY 2008 and is providing the reentry body assembly and delivery components to DOD for integration into the Trident II D5 Strategic
Weapon System, which is part of the submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) force. Warhead refurbishments and associated deliveries to the Navy are scheduled to complete in FY 2019.
The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review states that the United States will modify a small quantity of existing SLBM warheads to provide a low-yield option in the near-term. As the Nuclear Weapons Council translates policy into military requirements, the Administration will work with Congress for appropriate authorizations and appropriations to develop options that support the modification. (P. 80)
• The Interoperable Warhead-1 is very much back as a $53 million line item (up from $0 in FY18). The budget says:
The Program will replace the W78 warhead by 2030 and support fielding of the USAF Ground Based Strategic Deterrent missile system planned to replace the current Minuteman III ICBM force. Additionally, the program will investigate the feasibility of deploying the replacement warhead’s nuclear explosive package (NEP) in a US Navy flight body. Not only will the program replace one of the oldest warheads in the stockpile, it will provide improvement in warhead security, safety,
and use control. (P. 80)
• W80-4 Life Extension Program for Long Range Standoff nuclear warhead gets a massive increase from $218.76 million to $654.77 million.
• B61-12 bumped from $611.9 million to $794 million.
• “Stockpile Services Production Support” from $444.5 million to $513 million.
• “Plutonium Sustainment” from $184 million to $361 million.
• Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) upped to $703 million from $663 million. To go to 750 million in FY 2021. Construction to start soon. Repeats the preposterous claim that it will cost only $6.5 billion.
• Dismantlements stay flat at $56 million, (point).5% of NNSA’s total nuclear weapons budget. That speaks for itself.