During his campaign for the White House, president-elect Donald Trump repeatedly cited the need to modernize America’s aging nuclear deterrent. However, because of the complexities surrounding a presidential transition, Trump’s election may result in a near-term setback to the modernization effort. The reason is that the transition team has requested the current stop-gap funding measure that keeps the government running be extended to March 31 so that the new president can have a say in spending priorities for the current fiscal year. But because such funding measures, called continuing resolutions, cap spending for programs at the previous year’s levels, nuclear modernization programs cannot proceed at the planned pace. That could result in a less capable, less credible nuclear deterrent a dozen years from now, since old weapons will have to retire regardless of whether new weapons are available. I have written a commentary for Forbes explaining the perverse consequences of Trump’s election here.
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