ICBMs, or Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, were the weapon of choice for cold war posturing between the Soviet Union and the United States. These towering missiles were designed to travel great distances and unleash devastation upon their targets of a magnitude greater than twenty-seven times that of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

Today’s American ICBM arsenal consists of four hundred and fifty Minuteman III missiles, located in strategic locations across the globe.  Each sixty-foot tall missile carries one of three warheads, each designed with a specific purpose; the most modern of which has a yield equal to three hundred tons of TNT.

Our stockpile of tower sized nuclear missiles might seem like a holdover from another time, a time before the fall of the Soviet Union, back when mutually assured destruction seemed to be our only avenue for prolonged peace.  This sentiment was echoed by President Barrack Obama in his first term when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, in large part, due to his stance on reducing America’s, and the world’s, nuclear arsenals.  Obama was intent on de-emphasizing the role of nuclear weapons in America’s national security policy.  That is, until recently.

Earlier this year, President Obama called for $19 billion to be devoted to the overhaul of America’s aging nuclear infrastructure.  The plan, in total, is projected to cost the American taxpayers $320 billion over the span of a decade and nearly a trillion dollars over a thirty-year span.