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If the United States continues to delay expensive modernization programs to its aging nuclear systems, it will lose deterrent capability as early as the 2020s, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work told members of the House Armed Services Committee on June 25. “We’ve developed a plan to transition our aging systems,” which are “reaching a time where they will age out,” said Work. But he also acknowledged that, “Carrying out this plan is going to be a very expensive proposition.” The Defense Department projects it will cost $18 billion a year in Fiscal 2016 dollars from 2021 to 2035 to modernize the fleet. “Without additional funding dedicated to strategic force modernization, sustaining this level of spending will require very, very hard choices and will impact the other parts of the defense portfolio, particularly our conventional mission capability,” he added.