(Bloomberg) -- The US Air Force has removed the manager of its troubled program to build its next intercontinental ballistic missile, citing a “loss of confidence” in management of the project with a price tag that has soared at least 37% to an estimated $131 billion.

The Air Force said the ouster “is not directly related” to an ongoing congressionally mandated review of the ICBM program’s fast-rising cost. But the move is likely to add to congressional skepticism about management of the effort to replace aged Minuteman III missiles as the land-based leg of the nation’s nuclear triad. 

Colonel Charles Clegg was removed Monday as director of the Sentinel Systems project “because he did not follow organizational procedures,” the Air Force said in a statement without elaborating. Clegg, who was named to the post in 2022, had no comment about his removal, according to Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokesperson.

In its report on the Defense Department’s fiscal 2025 budget request, the House Appropriations Committee said it “was stunned to learn”of the 37% increase in the cost of the overall program, including the massive construction associated with launch facilities. Northrop Grumman Corp. is managing the missile’s development and production.

The committee said it “acknowledged the technical challenges and complexity of an undertaking of this magnitude” but is concerned that the issues “driving the critical overruns were not identified sooner.” It added that the “lack of continuity in program management for such a critical program as Sentinel is contributing to poor program performance, cost overruns and schedule slips.”

The committee approved $3.4 billion for the program in the coming year, about $340 million less than requested. Separately, 13 House and Senate Democrat lawmakers led by Democratic Representative John Garamendi of California have written Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin raising concern that the review of Sentinel wouldn’t include a thorough assessment of alternatives.

The Pentagon didn’t have a direct response to the House report but said in a statement that “we reinforce that a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent is critical to the security of our nation and our allies and partners.” The department will announce its decision about the program’s future on or about July 9, it said.

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