In this Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016 file photo provided by U.S. Air Force, an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force via AP, File)
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The U.S. military test fired its second intercontinental ballistic missile in a week late Thursday to demonstrate the reliability of American nuclear arms at a time of rising strategic tensions with countries like Russia and North Korea.Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said the U.S. tests, conducted at least 15 times since January 2011, send a message to strategic competitors like Russia, China and North Korea that Washington has an effective nuclear arsenal.President Barack Obama's final defense budget unveiled this month calls for a $1.8 billion hike in nuclear arms spending to overhaul the country's aging nuclear bombers, missiles, submarines and other systems.The president's $19 billion request would allow the Pentagon and Energy Department to move toward a multi-year overhaul of the atomic arms infrastructure that is expected to cost $320 billion over a decade and up to 1 trillion dollars over 30 years.
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