Meet the Budget Busting B61 Nuclear Bomb

The U.S. is poised to spend $11.6 billion to upgrade a handful of nuclear bombs - with each bomb costing more than twice its weight in gold. The bombs were originally put in Europe to roll back a Soviet land invasion. With the Cold War over, the costly bomb upgrades would rack up more debt while adding no benefit to our security. 

Why are the bombs still around? What else could the U.S. buy with the money? How much gold are we talking about? See the infographic below.


  • Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill, 2014. (pdf)
  • Department of Energy FY 2014 Congressional Budget Request. (pdf)
  • Department of Defense FY 2014 President's Budget Submission, Air Force justification book. (pdf)
  • CNN Commodities. (Gold price at $1211.60 per ounce, as of June 28, 2013)
  • "Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons" by Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists. May, 2012. (pdf)
  • "Nuclear Posture Review," meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations. April 8, 2010. (transcript)
  • SIPRI Military Expenditure Database, 2012.
  • "Throwing Money at Nukes" by The New York Times. May 26, 2013.
  • Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Request, "Program Acquisition Cost by Weapon System." (pdf)
  • "Dubai Opens World's Tallest Building" by Douglas Stanglin for USA Today. January 4, 2010.
  • "How America Pays for College 2012" by Sallie Mae. (pdf)
  • "Outcry Erupts over 1% Pay Raise Proposed for Military" by Gregg Zoroya for USA Today. April 24, 2013.
  • "American Red Cross FY11 Financial Results" (pdf)
Art Direction and Design by Peter Fedewa