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Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Modernizing US nuc strategy
Anonymously contributed: James Cartwright, the retired Marine Corps general who commanded U.S. nuclear forces from 2004-07, thinks the U.S. should acknowledge that a large nuclear force is of limited value in deterring today's major threats. "No sensible argument has been put forward for using nuclear weapons to solve any of the major 21st century problems we face," including threats posed by rogue states, terrorism, cyber warfare or climate change, Cartwright and his colleagues at Global Zero wrote in a report in May. Global Zero is an organization that advocates a step-by-step process to achieve the eventual elimination of all nuclear weapons. The group argues that the U.S. could safely reduce its arsenal over the coming 10 years to 900 total nuclear weapons. That compares with the current U.S. arsenal of about 5,000 weapons, of which 1,737 are deployed. ------ From Cartwright’s paper… “This notional [US nuclear] force would consist of ten (10) Trident ballistic missile submarines armed with 720 strategic missile warheads (360 deployed; 360 reserve) and eighteen (18) B-2 bombers armed with 180 gravity bombs (90 deployed; 90 reserve). The submarine force would offer a high degree of survivability for many decades – no peer competitor currently has any effective anti-submarine warfare capability against U.S. SSBNs at sea and technological breakthroughs that could threaten this survivability are several decades away. Both submarines and bombers would offer a high degree of flexibility… The Minuteman land-based ICBM force would be eliminated. ICBMs can only support nuclear wartime operations against Russia because current-generation ICBMs fired from the existing three (3) bases on their minimum energy trajectories have to overfly Russia and China to reach targets in potentially adversarial third countries (e.g., Iran, North Korea), and fly dangerously close to Russia to reach Syria. U.S. ICBMs would also have to overfly Russia to reach targets in China… Russia and China are not enemies of the United States. If they were, and nuclear planners allocated this 900-weapon arsenal according to Cold War targeting principles, the following (strictly) illustrative categories of targets and warhead assignments would be possible: Russia: WMD (325 warheads including 2-on-1 strikes against every missile silo), leadership command posts (110 warheads), war-supporting industry (136 warheads). Moscow alone would be covered by eighty (80) warheads. China: WMD (85 warheads including 2-on-1 strikes against every missile silo), leadership command posts (33 warheads), war-supporting industry (136 warheads). North Korea, Iran, Syria: Each country would be covered by forty (40) warheads.” http://www.globalzero.org/en/us-nuclear-policy-commission-report
Posted by scooby at 2:26 PM
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