The Pentagon’s top weapons buyer has approved advanced development for a fleet of 12 new nuclear-armed submarines, a potential $128 billion project that the Navy calls its top priority.

Frank Kendall, the undersecretary for acquisition, signed the decision memo that officially moves the program forward late Wednesday. Shortly before acting, Kendall, who’s departing when President Barack Obama steps down on Jan. 20, said in an interview,“I’m hoping to have it done before I leave.” Continue Reading.