Air Force leaders disagree with recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that it would cost $1.2 trillion to upgrade the nation’s nuclear arsenal. Air Force Magazine, published by the Air Force Association, cited two service officials as saying the amount would be closer to $339 billion — less than half of what CBO projected. Retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula, who heads the association’s Mitchell Institute, and Peter Huessy, the institute’s director of strategic deterrent studies, wrote in an op-ed piece published by The Hill that the CBO cost estimates fail to consider that many of the expenses it included would be necessary anyway. Deptula and Huessy also disagreed with CBO’s inclusion of the total cost for the B-21 bomber program into its estimate. Additionally, they questioned CBO’s decision to consider salaries, housing, health care and other benefits that nuclear airmen would receive. Again, they said, such costs would be inherent whether or not nuclear modernization takes place.
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