News Picks : Modernization of US nuclear weapons divides experts
New York Times: The B-61 is one of the primary nuclear bombs in the US arsenal; it was first developed in the 1960s and has been produced in nine variations that can be set for air burst, ground burst, and even ground penetration. In his effort to minimize the US's nuclear arsenal, President Obama approved a major modernization project of US nuclear weapons. As part of that refurbishment, the B-61 is getting a new variation that will be the first precision-guided nuclear weapon. The B-61 model 12, which will replace four older models, will also lower the minimum bomb yield to just 0.3 kilotons, 2% of the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Some former Obama administration members have been vocal about their disagreement with the project, which is expected to cost nearly $1 trillion over three decades. Russia has indicated that it considers the modernization effort a small-scale arms race despite the arms reduction treaty it signed with the US in 2010. Some experts have expressed concern that if the bombs have a higher accuracy, military commanders might be more willing to use them because the risk of collateral damage will be significantly reduced.