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Pentagon, Eyeing Iran, Wants to Rush 30,000-Pound Bomb Program


Pentagon, Eyeing Iran, Wants to Rush 30,000-Pound Bomb Program
By Tony Capaccio | Bloomberg

The U.S. Defense Department wants to accelerate by three years the deployment of a 30,000-pound bunker-buster bomb, a request that reflects growing unease over nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea.

Comptroller Robert Hale, in a formal request to the four congressional defense committees earlier this month, asked permission to shift about $68 million in the Pentagon’s budget to this program to ensure the first four bombs could be mounted on stealthy B-2 bombers by July 2010.

Hale, in his July 8 request, said there was “an urgent operational need for the capability to strike hard and deeply buried targets in high-threat environments,” and top commanders of U.S. forces in Asia and the Middle East “recently identified the need to expedite” the bomb program.

The bomb would be the U.S. military’s largest and six times bigger than the 5,000-pound bunker buster that the Air Force now uses to attack deeply buried nuclear, biological or chemical sites.

Accelerating the program “is intended to, at the very least, give the president the option of conducting a strike to knock out Iran’s main uranium enrichment capabilities,” said Ken Katzman, Middle East military expert for the non-partisan Congressional Research Service. Read more.

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