Over the past decade, much attention has focused on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and fighting Al Qaeda and now the Islamic State group. But in the next three decades, the Pentagon plans to spend an estimated $1 trillion to buy a new generation of nuclear weapons to replace the current arsenal.
The Obama administration, along with military commanders and some members of Congress, say nuclear weapons make a difference every day in deterring attacks against the United States. They argue that the current stockpile must be replaced because it's old and could break down. Their highest priority is building 12 new submarines.
But critics say the price tag is unaffordable and that the Pentagon is essentially rebuilding a Cold War-era arsenal.
PBS NewsHour Producer Dan Sagalyn and veteran correspondent Jamie McIntyre, currently Al Jazeera America's National Security Correspondent, who is on special assignment for the PBS NewsHour, report the story.