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John Richardson

49 - Navy Adm. John Richardson
Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program
The head of naval reactors is at the core of debate over the shape, structure and funding of the Ohio Replacement Program, an enormous effort to design and build a new class of strategic ballistic missile submarines. With a total price tag north of $60 billion, the program will eat up a huge chunk of Navy shipbuilding money across two decades. Richardson, a fan of funding the program outside the normal shipbuilding budget, will be a key figure in the program across his eight-year tenure — stretching to 2020 — when most of the key issues will be decided. His job is unique in US defense, with an eight-year term and absolute authority over the nuclear reactors that power US aircraft carriers and submarines, it also oversees the highly specialized training infrastructure and industry associated with nuclear power.