The nuclear posture to be proposed by the Trump administration hews closely to principles embraced by the president’s predecessor. However, building the kind of capabilities planned during the Obama era will require a major renewal of the energy department’s neglected nuclear enterprise for producing and sustaining warheads. Although some significant investments have been made in modernizing the nuclear complex, most of it exceeds 40 years of age and some of it actually dates to World War Two’s Manhattan Project. The Y-12 uranium processing facility at Oak Ridge, TN and Savannah River tritium site are especially in need of renewal, as are the three national laboratories supporting nuclear weapons work. Washington skimped on funding for nuclear enterprise modernization after the Cold War ended because future military requirements were not clear. But now that the Trump administration has confirmed the broad outlines of a future nuclear posture first enunciated by President Obama, it is time to get serious about rebuilding the kind of nuclear enterprise that can support national goals. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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