Political News

5 key questions Trump will face about US nuclear forces

Posted 3:44 a.m. Thursday

— Five key questions on nuclear issues that Donald Trump will face as commander in chief:

—Should his administration press ahead with modernization of all facets of the arsenal, to include the submarines, aircraft and land-based missiles that have formed the "triad" of strategic nuclear forces for more than half a century, plus the communications systems that control them? The price tag is put in the hundreds of billions of dollars over the next two decades.

—Should the Air Force develop a new nuclear air-launched cruise missile? The Air Force and the Pentagon's top nuclear force commanders say it is necessary, but some in Congress have questioned whether it is worth the expected price tag of about $20 billion, including the cost of refurbishing the warheads.

—How should the United States respond to what the Obama administration has called Russian violations of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty? The administration has considered options including deploying new cruise missiles in Europe, but it has refrained from scrapping the treaty.

—Should the U.S. opt out of the 2010 New START treaty with Russia that limits each side to 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads? Trump has criticized the accord as putting the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage.

—What more could the U.S. do to compel North Korea to stop, or at least scale back, its nuclear weapons program?

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